There were legions of self-sacrificing heroes on September 11th, 2001, from the civilians that did their best to rush co-workers out of the falling Twin Towers to the emergency response workers that rushed into the carnage to pull out victims for hours, days, weeks and then months. With the butterfly effect of actions and fate, there were also countless untold stories of accidental heroism, little moments that, in the end, ended up saving lives, too.
Gwyneth Paltrow, it turns out, was one of those accidental heroes.
Speaking at a press conference for her upcoming film, "Contagion," the actress talked about a chance encounter on the street that kept a Lara Lindstrom Clarke, a 24-year old at the time, from entering the World Trade Center that day.
"Basically, what happened was I had gone to a yoga class very early. I was on the way home and it was the morning of September 11 -- not that I knew at the time what that meant -- and a girl was jaywalking across the street and we kind of both stopped at the same time and waited a really long time," she said in Venice (via the NY Post).
After a bit of confusion over who should go -- Paltrow in an SUV, Clarke walking in the street -- and subsequent laughter between the two, they each went on their way.
"Ten years later I got a letter from her saying that she had been late for work and we had that thing and she went down to the Christopher Street station to catch her train to go down to the World Trade Center where she worked on the 77th floor of the South Tower and the train was just pulling out," Paltrow continued. "So had we not had that interaction she feels like her life would've taken a much different course."
The woman called it her "Sliding Doors," moment, harkening back to Paltrow's 1998 film that sees Paltrow's character discover the two fates that would await her depending on whether or not she caught a certain subway car.
The Daily Mail reports testimony from Clarke herself, including the letter she sent Paltrow to tell her of the story and thank her.
The story is also reminiscent of films such as "The Butterfly Effect" and last winter's "The Adjustment Bureau," the Matt Damon-starring film about shady underworld agents who "adjust" peoples' fates by changing small instances to keep them on their designated course in life. Damon, as it so happens, stars as her husband in "Contagion," the deadly virus thriller from Steven Soderbergh.
For more, click over to the NY Post.