Actress Gwyneth Paltrow has found out last month that during a chance encounter on Sept. 11, 2001, she inadvertently saved a woman’s life.
Nearly 10 years following the attacks on that fateful day, Lara Lundstrom Clarke reached out to Paltrow in a letter detailing how their momentary meeting, while Clarke was jaywalking, prevented her from being on the 77th floor of Tower Two of the World Trade Center.
Both women note that their morning exercise routines had set the ball rolling for them to meet each other. While Clarke was crossing in the middle of a West Village street in New York, Paltrow was driving in her silver Mercedes SUV.
“Basically, what happened was I had gone to a yoga class very early,” Paltrow told the New York Post.
“I started off by rollerblading on the Hudson, got a good workout in, and was running late to work,” Clarke told Kit Hoover of Access Hollywood Live.
The two met as Clarke was rushing to work and was crossing the road to catch her train. After a few moments of stopping and starting to let each other pass, Clarke said she realized that the driver of the SUV was Paltrow and she stopped to share a smile with the Hollywood actress.
Despite being slightly annoyed that Paltrow had made her miss her train at the Christopher Street station, making her late for work, Clarke recalled being excited to tell her coworkers who she had just seen.
However, as Clarke emerged from the one-and-nine train station near the World Trade Center at 8:47 a.m., the first plane collided into Tower One.
Four of her coworkers died in the September 11 tragedy, and Clarke believes had she not met Paltrow that day, she would have met an extremely different fate herself.
“If I had made that train I would have been at my desk on the 77th floor of 2 World Trade Center,” Clarke said.
“I have spent years healing, but this is one part of my own story that I need to bring full circle.”
Since then, Clarke has married and now lives in California with her husband.
Paltrow told Access Hollywood correspondent Tim Vincent that she was glad for the opportunity to connect with Clarke once again.
“It still gives me chills,” she said.
“I can’t quite believe how many other people changed the course of strangers’ lives that day and they’re not able to reach out to them.”