The Woman Who Wasn't There (2012) Movie Script

TANIA HEAD: Just before 8:30,
I got a phone call, and it was
and he said that that he just
wanted to go
and get some coffee,
and he asked me if I wanted to
meet him,
and, um... I, I said that I was
just about to go into the,
into a meeting, and that I
couldn't, I couldn't do it,
and I said, "I love you and talk
to you later."
And that was the last time I, I
ever spoke to him.
TANIA HEAD: It was amazing, and
you know,
it was that kind of crazy love
story where we would finish
each other's sentences...
TANIA HEAD: We were so alike,
like but some people say
opposites attract,
but for me, it was different.
It was like he and I were almost
the same person.
TANIA HEAD: Sometimes he was
explosive, but it was,
it was definitely a love story.
TANIA HEAD: That day, I didn't
just lose Dave.
I lost myself.
LORI: How are you?
MALE VOICE #1: I get hot when
they do this.
FEMALE VOICE #1: We have like...
FEMALE VOICE #2 I don't know,
eight? Eight left?
TANIA HEAD: It's the morning of
September 11th,
and we're all gonna go to the
official ceremony at the site,
and we hope to make it there by
the first moment of silence at
It's one of the hardest
experiences of my life
to go down that ramp every
but I do it for Dave because I,
I knew he,
he wants me to be there, but let
me show you something.
[Giggles & rustling paper]
Dave and I met outside the World
Trade Center
when he stole my cab.
So, every year when I go to the
I bring a New York City cab with
and I put it in the reflection
so that he knows that I remember
that day.
[Bell chimes]
TANIA HEAD: Some of my
co-workers had families,
they that had little kids, and
they died, and I didn't.
So, why?
Why? Why am I special? Why, why
was I spared?
Why didn't they make it? Why
was, why did I make it?
Was it God? Was it faith?
Was it because we have something
to do?
Was it because we were sheltered
by the elevator machinery?
It just makes you go crazy.
You go crazy asking yourself
why, why, why?
ELIA: People kept saying how
blessed I was,
and I didn't feel blessed at
I felt like it was a curse.
Survivor guilt made me feel
made me actually go from the
"Why did I survive?"
to "Why did I have to survive?"
GERRY BOGACZ: I don't know how
to describe it.
It, it's sort of a pain in my,
in my, my, gut, you know,
and I remember actually doubling
over realizing,
"Oh, my God, those three people
were all on my side,
and I didn't get them out."
BRENDAN: It's so hard to get
past being alive
when all these people aren't,
and I've had people say to me,
you know, "Oh, you're so lucky.
You got out of there. You must
feel great."
You don't.
[Massive fire sounds]
I woke up thinking about 9/11,
went to bed thinking about it,
dreamed about it, just couldn't
get out of it.
I mean, I just kept replaying
that day over and over
and over again.
Before I met Tania, I had talked
to, you know,
a couple of professional people,
and it really wasn't helping me.
I searched online,
and I joined the support group
that they had for survivors.
TANIA HEAD: We started as an
online peer support group
where you could go into a Yahoo
and connect to other survivors
24 hours a day.
So, one day, you were having a
bad day,
and you would post it online,
and within 30 minutes,
you'd get 40 replies of people
"I know what you feel," you
"It's okay to have those
I'm here for you.
Just call me. Anything you
LORI: Many people were having
economic problems,
health problems, just a lot of
that sense of parallel reality
that people were heavily living
through, and I think,
to a large degree, still do, and
I think it was just,
just being with other people
and talking about this stuff
BRENDAN: I had many
conversations with Tania,
just one-on-one conversations,
but she gave me a lot of support
like nobody else had.
ELIA: I admired her from the
very beginning
how strong she seemed, and at
the same time,
once I started to get to know
then I realized this whole
strength thing that she shows
is really a facade.
She's really in pain.
She's, she was, she seemed to be
really in pain, um,
and really, really distraught,
and, and I, and I said,
"Well, of course.
How could she not be?"
BRENDAN: When I first heard
Tania's story,
she did not talk about it much,
and then one day,
she just wrote it out in its
and it blew me away.
I mean, you know, we had all
been through horrible things,
but Tania's was just, just head
and shoulders
above anything else that any of
us had gone through.
[Police radio]
TANIA HEAD: I started seeing
these flames, and I was like,
"Something's happening in the
other tower."
And I, I started thinking about
Dave right away.
I, I, the first thing I did was
starting to count floors
down from, from the top.
He was on the hundredth floor,
and I was like,
"Oh, my God, his floor is one of
the floors that has been hit."
A woman started screaming,
"There's another plane coming.
There's another plane coming."
[Plane engine & breaking glass]
[Explosion & fire]
The first thing I felt was,
was the, the air was sucked out
of my lungs like a,
like a change in pressure.
I, then I was flying.
I was flying through the air
from the impact.
I was just flying.
I remember very well the pain of
hitting the wall,
the marble wall, and then I,
then I remember the warmth from,
from the explosion, and then I
passed out.
[Fire sounds]
My back was, was on fire and my
arm, and I was,
I was smelling my own skin
I remember Welles Crowder, the
man with the red bandanna.
He had some type of cloth,
and I felt him use that to, to
put the flames out,
and um, he hugged me, and he
said, um,
"Just stay awake. Stay awake.
Help is coming."
I was, I was in the hospital
until Thanksgiving,
November, 2001, and my back was
really burned
and my arm was burned and I
couldn't walk.
So, I was in a wheelchair.
I couldn't even pull myself on
the wheelchair
because I only had one good arm.
So, you know, between the
wheelchair, the trauma,
the loss, I, I didn't know where
to start.
It was just too hard.
It was like looking at a
that was 20,000 feet tall.
BRENDAN: My story was so
to what she went through that my
first reaction
writing to her was, "That's
and, "I don't belong in this
and a lot of people wrote that,
and she was very supportive,
saying, "No, you do.
You know, what we all went
through was equally important."
ELIA: She was fabulous.
Here's this person who went
through so much
that who in the world could
possibly survive this,
yet she's a survivor.
Here she is. She's a survivor!
TANIA HEAD: I think you find
that by talking to other people
and helping others, getting
it helps carry your own burden,
and I think that's how you mask
You, you kind of, um hide your
by getting involved helping
GERRY BOGACZ: I became aware of
and I was very curious as to how
she got through all that.
It was a story that pulled you
in, obviously.
But I did notice that her arm
was, looked like it had been,
I don't know, it almost looked
like skin grafts
on her right arm,
and I remember thinking that it
didn't look like
it had been burned.
GERRY BOGACZ: I had felt mad at
myself for even thinking
that there was something amiss,
but I often wonder why I was
even asking the question.
encountered Tania Head
on the Internet group.
We began having an email
and she shared her story with
and I shared my story with her,
which is kind of normal for
survivors to do.
I was struck by how dramatic her
story was.
GERRY BOGACZ: It was pervasive.
It was this idea of this person
who had gone through so much,
and, and people try to protect
her a lot,
and I think I probably had a
protective feeling
right from the start.
TANIA HEAD: I had met Gerry
and Gerry was also meeting with
He had started having dinner
with people in his office
who were interested in meeting
and discussing
their September 11th experience.
GERRY BOGACZ: I had the idea for
the Survivors' Network because,
again, I had this feeling of
having a hole I needed to fill
about 9/11 in me.
I suggested that she come to a
of the Survivors' Network as a
way of bringing,
bringing these two groups
and that was the first time I
had met her in person.
TANIA HEAD: We ended up going
for coffee that same day,
and we started to unite forces,
and we formed the World Trade
Center Survivors' Network.
I was driven. I'd been working
I'd been working at my work,
for, for my work.
I'd been working for the
Survivors' Network, for the,
for Dave's foundation, for the
widows' group.
I mean, I had just been working
24 hours a day
non-stop for different things,
and that's how my anger was
because of this obsession that I
had to,
to really not be like the
MARIAN FONTANA: I think Tania's
made the docent program that we
had envisioned possible.
Her story kind of fit into that
kind of all-encompassing
survivor and a hero and, you
know, a widow
and everything that kind of 9/11
came to represent on that day.
So, her story was incredible.
her just an energetic booster
for the needs of the survivor
She genuinely wanted recognition
for the Survivor Network
and the survivor community to
recognize not only
what they had gone through and
attest to that,
but to provide a venue for them
to feel like this is theirs.
TANIA HEAD: And from there, I
started going down on my own.
I've seen Sting, because I love
GERRY BOGACZ: We didn't have
access to the site,
so that initial ability to
actually go into the site was,
was a very powerful experience,
and it was very much appreciated
that Tania
was able to make those
JANICE: It was amazing that she
So, you were just thankful, you
know, to look at her
and see people recover and heal
and do amazing stuff with their
RICHARD: She had a tremendous
sense of humor
and laughed a lot [Laughter]
and always wanted to plan
another event
and do important things,
and one couldn't help but be
drawn into that.
RUDY GIULIANI: Tania, you did a
great job.
TANIA HEAD: Thank you.
Hey Tania? Walk, walk...
MALE: I think these reporters
are waiting for you.
don't have to.
JANICE: After we finished the
we were getting ready to leave,
and a group of reporters came
towards Tania.
They wanted to get an interview.
Tania started having a lot of
She was like out of control...
...and actually led up to a
full-blown panic attack.
MALE IN GRAY COAT Just go, walk
quick, Tania, walk quick.
JANICE: Like totally breaking
down, crying,
shaking, and I had to tell the
reporters to leave her alone,
and I had to get her out of
MALE IN GRAY COAT: If you don't
wanna talk, we don't talk.
[Camera shutters & crowd
TANIA HEAD: One day I came home
from work,
and what I found was rose petals
leading from the door
to our dining room, and I
followed the rose petals,
and I found Dave standing there
with a coconut bra and a grass
dancing to Hawaiian songs, and I
was like, "Oh, my God."
And he had, even cooked this
really disgusting Hawaiian food,
recipes that he had found on the
and on the dining table were
were two tickets to Hawaii
leaving the next day.
JANICE: He'd planned this whole
amazing trip
because she was busy working,
and he wanted to take her away
and had her measurements sent
and made her this beautiful,
white dress, and her parents
came from California over there
to witness the ceremony.
It wasn't a, a, a legal
It was like a just a ceremony of
a wedding.
TANIA HEAD: I walked outside,
and there were these four huge
Hawaiian warriors with torches
waiting for me outside, and
they, I'm like,
"What's going on?"
And they're like, "No, we're
escorting you down the,
down the garden aisle."
And I go I'm like, "Okay."
So, I followed them, and we went
all the way to the beach,
and there was Dave standing in
the middle
of a circle of orchids.
And the next morning,
we started calling all our
friends and families,
telling them we had gotten
not married but Maui-ed.
BRENDAN: Whenever she talked
about Dave,
she never showed any pictures or
We never met Dave's family.
So, the thought crossed my mind,
"What if she's one of these
who just never tells the truth,
and she just made everything
You know, the, the thought
crossed my mind,
but I, I didn't think it was
So, what I did was, I was about
to go to bed that night,
and I figured, "You know what?
Let me just look online,
do a little research on part of
her story,
make sure there was a connection
and see the story's true,
go to bed."
BRENDAN: And he existed.
He was where she said he was,
and, you know,
he died on that day.
There were a lot of newspaper
articles, message boards.
He's a very popular guy,
but there was one thing that
wasn't there,
any mention of Tania anywhere.
No mention of a fianc, no
mention of the trip to Hawaii
that she talked about the month
I mean, just no mention of
anything that she said.
She was in love with American
people and the United States.
ALISON CROWTHER: Okay, come on.
Come on.
You're a good boy.
Yes, you are a good boy, and you
love your cookies,
and it shows.
That's not totally dead, but.
Well, he's been wearing a red
since we've had him, really.
When we lost Welles, we put it
on him,
and he's always wear, worn, worn
Yes, you have. Yes, you have.
You're a good boy.
I first heard the name Tania
when a friend of ours who we'd
gotten to know,
a very lovely woman who
volunteers down at Ground Zero,
called me and said, "Alison, I
think I've,
I've, I've, I've met someone,
I've heard of someone else who
Welles saved.
This woman at Ground Zero was
leading the tour,
and she started sharing a story
about how
the Man in the Red Bandanna
saved her.
I said, "Oh, oh, that's
You know, we would love to, to
meet her."
BRENDAN: Tania, I remember the
first time we talked about it.
I asked her, "Do you know that
guy with the red bandanna
that they were talking about?"
And she said, "Yeah, he saved my
came to me, and she said,
"Well, she's a little reluctant
to meet with you.
She's had some unfortunate
experiences with other families
being very angry that she
and their loved ones didn't,
and she would like to meet with
you but very privately.
It has to be very privately."
I said, "Well, fine." You know,
"We'll meet.
We're members of the Princeton
Club and have dinner there."
She seemed very grateful, and we
were, you know, very pleased.
It was a beautiful thing.
We were, we were very moved that
she, she'd been saved,
and, and obviously, it meant so
much to her.
TANIA HEAD: I find that family
of people who were killed, they
wanna know what happened,
but I just, I just don't wanna
put those images
into their, their heads.
They don't, they don't, they
don't have to know.
They don't have to know how
their loved ones died.
I think it's, it's better if, if
they just don't know
because I saw so much suffering
on that floor to the,
to the degree where it's just,
it's just something that I,
I don't wanna share with anyone.
I'm just kind of been keeping it
to myself.
It's, it's a secret that you
carry with you, it's, and,
and it becomes a burden because
you can't really share
with a lot of people out there.
Who, who wants to, who wants to
talk about body parts
and blood and carnage?
There's nobod...
there's not that many people you
can talk to about that.
LINDA: My head was covered.
But when the second plane
I had to run for my life.
LINDA: Okay, this was tower
number two, the South Tower,
the second tower to get hit.
They were 110 stories each.
They were so tall that sometimes
the people
who came into work that worked
on the upper floors
looked down at the clouds.
This is one of the most
important things that I do
with my life.
I'm a survivor from September
and I finally found a purpose.
I know why I'm here,
and it's to talk to people like
you that come
and wanna hear our stories.
So, that's very important to me.
This is Tania.
Tania's also a survivor.
She's also Spanish speaking.
So, she has offered to help.
LINDA: Okay.
She's also a survivor,
and she's also one of my best
I met Tania...
BRENDAN: Tania and Linda were
like sisters.
They just, every time we had any
kind of event,
whether it was, you know, like
an official meeting
or any time we went out
those two were always together.
LINDA: Let's show him what
regular people
at the U.S. Open do.
You ready?
LINDA: Let's show him now what
do when they go to the U.S.
TANIA HEAD: Checking out for
taking off from LaGuardia.
LINDA: We're watching the planes
take off from LaGuardia.
MALE PRODUCER That's good.
LINDA: Tania taught me how to
live life with grace,
with courage, with the strength
to overcome, to me,
some of the scariest things that
I've ever faced
in my entire life.
LINDA: I don't wanna live my
life based on
what happened to me.
I wanna live my life like
Tania's living her life,
like going out and helping other
people and doing something good
with my really horrible
ALISON CROWTHER: We had a very
beautiful bronze sculpture
of a phoenix bird rising from
the World Trade Center
with our message that, you know,
good will prevail,
that, that good will rise from
the ashes like the phoenix
and prevail.
So, we were dedicating that
sculpture at church,
and we invited Tania to come.
on that 78th Floor sky lobby,
and she's here with us today,
thank God,
and I'm gonna ask her now if she
would speak a little for you.
LINDA: I remember when we got to
his service,
Tania was a nervous wreck.
She couldn't get up.
She couldn't read the piece, and
she had asked me to read it.
When Alison and Jeff asked me to
speak today,
I sat down staring at a blank
screen, and I cried,
unable to find the words, the
right words to say.
What exactly do you say to the
family of the man
who saved your life and gave his
in the process?
Welles was my hero, too, because
he saved Tania.
And I found myself flying
through the air
and I eventually crashed against
the marble wall.
ALISON CROWTHER: It was all part
of this beautiful service
that was filled with love and
hope and just,
we were so moved, really moved.
LINDA: Hey, Welles, I'm
The things they were saying
about our son, Welles,
were so beautiful and so
and they said over and over
"You have no idea, truly, what
your son faced."
We believe that good, that the
good of the human spirit is
far more powerful than the evil
that happened that day.
TANIA HEAD: Now that Dave is
because we were gonna have that
wedding on October 12,
we never really filed the
marriage certificate
here in New York.
So, in the eyes of the laws, we
weren't married.
There was no need for us to file
it because we were gonna
get married here October 12.
So, when he died, that was a
huge problem for me,
but I was able to solve that
with the help of a lawyer,
and a judge, um, ended up
marrying us posthumously,
which was the saddest thing in
the world to become a widow,
you know, like that, but it's
LINDA: Tania, this year, was
very, very distant
from all of us.
And she had been in denial for
years about her husband dying.
JANICE: There was times when I
was concerned
that she would hurt herself,
maybe commit suicide because she
would sometimes say
that she wanted to die,
and a couple of the other board
members and I
would talk about that,
and we were concerned at times
that she might
take her own life.
LINDA: Tania was in the middle
of doing
this very intensive therapy
called flooding
to face Dave's death.
JANICE: You would tell your
story to a therapist,
and you would record it,
LINDA: And you have to keep
reliving over and over again
the experience of the tragic or
traumatic event
that went through your life.
She tape recorded her experience
from September 11th.
TANIA HEAD: I heard the engines.
I saw people pray.
You knew that you were gonna
and I was just praying, please
don't let this hurt.
Please don't let this hurt.
LINDA: I would be behind her,
and she would start circling
and the tape would play, "Oh, my
Oh, my God, the plane is coming.
The plane is coming," and it
would literally crash.
And I could tell you, I could
visualize the stuff,
listening to her talk about it.
LINDA: She would recount how her
assistant was decapitated,
how everyone around her was, was
She told me that her arm was
completely severed,
that there was just one little
piece of skin right here
that where it was hanging off,
and some man started tugging on
her arm,
and she was screaming and crying
because she was afraid
that this man was gonna pull her
arm off,
and she told me that she took
her arm,
and she tucked it into her coat
to keep it from falling off her
And she'd start crying harder
and harder,
and she would just, she'd be a
and I would be trying to hold
her up,
like I didn't know what to do. I
didn't know what to do.
Right now, even talking about
I get so worked up that I start
into so much anxiety over this,
but I did this for her because
she was gonna get better.
The nightmares were so bad.
In fact, they were worse.
I started incorporating what she
had told me on the tape
into my nightmares, and there
wasn't almost a night
that I didn't have a building
collapsing on me.
When I finally told her,
"Tania, I've got to stop doing
the flooding exercise with you,"
she told me that I was a
horrible friend,
and I was so selfish.
How could I be such a selfish
Didn't I realize what she went
Didn't I realize that the trauma
that she had sustained
was so much worse than the
trauma I had sustained?
I mean, how can, how can I live
with that?
ELIA: I actually became very
worried about Linda
because I know Linda's still
working through her own stuff.
So, I was worried that Linda
would be that much involved
with someone whom I came to
was not doing well at all and,
and seemed to be getting worse.
GERRY BOGACZ: Okay, folks,
welcome everyone
to our walk today that's gonna
be recognizing
all the members of the 9/11
the victims and their families,
the rescuers and recovery
The walk has been organized by
the World Trade Center
Survivors' Network.
It's an amazing organization in
there's no real hierarchy to it.
Everybody just gets together and
does the work,
and I do wanna recognize the
coordinators of this,
Tania Head.
GERRY BOGACZ: Tania began to
tell me
that people in the network were
saying that they had
had some concerns with things
that I was doing.
There were people who had told
that I was not representing
survivors aggressively enough.
Then, the board of the, of the
network basically called me in
and told me what their concerns
A primary person in that whole
conversation was Tania.
It was Tania who was basically
running this meeting.
JANICE: Tania was frightened of
that he was a hard worker,
and, he started the Survivors'
and I think she knew that she
couldn't manipulate him.
So, she kind of manipulated
everybody else to go
against him so that she could
get him out.
LINDA: She had me thinking that
Gerry was bad
for the organization.
Yet, in my heart, I adore Gerry.
I, still to this day, I adore
and love Gerry.
He's such a good person, but you
have to sometimes
separate yourself from you as a
and you as part of an
and that's what we had to do.
personally, I'm very proud of,
of this organization and the
people who are in it.
They've done a great deal of
We were having our annual
elections for the board,
and the night before the
election meeting,
Tania called me and started to
talk to me about,
"You don't really wanna come to
this meeting, now, do you?"
You know, that type of thing,
and I started talking.
I said, "Yeah, no, I'm, I, I, I
wanna be there,"
and so forth, and then I
through the conversation that
what she was really saying
Is that I wasn't going to be
elected to the board,
or re-elected to the board.
I even said it to her.
I said, "You're telling me I'm
not gonna be re-elected,"
and she was kind of quiet, and I
"Well, I'm still gonna be
GERRY: The next day, I went to
the meeting,
and, in fact, I wasn't
re-elected to the board,
and I left at that point.
I remember standing at the bus
stop waiting for the bus home,
and, you know, having a physical
reaction to it,
just feeling shaken, totally
shaken but not in a,
in a psychological way, a
physical way,
actually shaking and just
how I had managed to alienate
all those people,
you know, and, and, and part of
me was sort of beginning
to rebel against it.
There was some anger there, too,
what, what, what just happened?
But it was mostly self-doubt.
It was mostly like, what did I
do here?
How, how did this happen?
The next day, they came out with
a press release,
which described the new board
with Tania as the president,
offices we didn't have before.
So, there was this mysterious
quality to it, too.
I just couldn't put all these
pieces together
and figure out why did it come
out this way.
And I haven't really been active
with the network since.
BRENDAN: I'm like, "Oh, my God.
I, I, I can't believe I'm seeing
And it's like now wait a minute.
I, I keep trying to find one
more website
that will confirm her story,
and I'm checking and checking
and checking... Nothing.
Needless to say, I didn't get
any sleep that night,
but I sat on this information.
These people were so important
in my life.
They brought me back.
You know, they, they made me
into a human being again.
I don't what would have happened
if I'd never met them,
and I did not wanna lose that,
you know.
I, I, I just could see her
making all these people go away,
and I, I just, I couldn't do it.
I, I knew deep down that I was
gonna tell eventually.
You know, I, I just knew, but I
didn't wanna do it.
I mean, I was just too scared
because I knew the power
that she had over people.
ELIA: It was a couple of days
before the sixth anniversary,
Tania came over to me.
She was frantic, and she said
that a New York Times reporter
was going to do a story on her.
JANICE: They really just wanted
to do
a really nice story on her.
Six years later, where is she?
You know, that she went to
Harvard and Stanford,
she's doing all these wonderful
LINDA: She agreed to it, which I
was really happy about.
As time went on, as time went
she kept pushing back,
and she was acting very strange
about it.
ELIA: He was asking a lot of
personal questions
that she did not wanna answer,
and he was going to write a lot
of lies about her.
JANICE: They were supposed to
but she said that she had
another appointment
and was gonna be late.
So, they had to cancel that.
JANICE: So, he called her up,
and she got very upset
and hung up on him.
She called me and said, "He's
asking me these questions,
and why is he asking me all
these questions?"
And I say, "Well, you don't have
to answer them.
It's okay."
ALISON CROWTHER: We got a call
from a reporter, David Dunlap,
at The New York Times, and he
said, "Hi."
And he said,
"I'm writing this story about
Tania Head,
and, you know, we just need,
there's a couple things we can't
quite put into place here."
My immediate reaction to his
call was,
"Why are you harassing this
She's been through so much."
GERRY BOGACZ: I started to
answer their questions,
and about a quarter of the way
I realized that this wasn't just
a piece.
This was an investigation.
LINDA: As The New York Times was
harassing Tania
with phone call after phone
she told me that Merrill Lynch
had arranged
a family conference at the St.
There were 11 co-workers that
had died with her,
and these families wanted to
know how their loved ones died.
She was so afraid.
There were people that she told
had stalked her over the years.
She called me that morning
hysterically crying, and said,
"Linda, I need you to come in
These people are so mean to me.
They're screaming at me."
LINDA: I ran out of my
apartment. I hailed a taxi.
I went right into the St. Regis
and I found her laying on the
side of the hotel,
and she kept repeating,
"I tried to get these people
I tried to save them.
I tried to save them all,"
and she was crying and shaking
and a mess.
She kept telling me over the
past six months
that she was gonna try to kill
and I figured, this is the day
that she's gonna kill herself.
And I helped her up, and I said,
"Let me bring her inside to the,
to the hotel.
They probably know exactly. They
we're probably there.
They probably arranged it, and
when I went inside,
and I begged them for a quiet
place for us to sit,
they didn't even know what I was
talking about.
After a little while, she pulled
herself together,
and she asked to go the Marsh
McLennan Memorial
where her husband Dave's name
And we were just touching Dave's
name over and over again,
and she was crying, but she was
calming down
because I felt like, you know,
Dave was calming her down.
Dave was calming her down.
And all of a sudden, she was
"You can go home now, Linda,
It's okay. I'm gonna be all
ELIA: She begged me to call the
and tell him to stop.
I called up, and I left a
message saying,
"I understand you're doing a
story on her.
She does not wish to have a
story written on her.
Please respect her, her request,
her wishes."
And that was it.
And after I hung up, she started
yelling at me,
telling me that I probably just
made it worse
by telling him that.
If he writes lies, you can just
All you have to do is just get
Dave's parents to speak up
and all his friends.
JANICE: I called him up, and I
"You know, this is a really
difficult time of the year.
Can you please wait until after
the anniversary?
See, she said that she would do
the interview then."
He was screaming on the phone to
me one day.
He's like goes, "Why can't you
just answer the questions?"
LORI: She was driving us
absolutely (bleeping) crazy.
She would call us constantly
several times a day
to talk about this stuff, and,
of course,
everybody kept saying,
"Just talk to The Times already.
What is your problem?"
LORI: I remember the night
September 11th anniversary.
She always had a barbecue at her
BRENDAN: And Tania seemed to be
a lot of difficulty with
You know, she was crying,
running out of the barbecue and
LORI: "The Times keeps calling
The Times keeps calling me," or
She was no longer even connected
to us as friends.
She was so caught up in her own
LINDA: She was sitting outside
with Janice,
crying hysterically, saying,
"They're, they're asking all
these questions.
They're fact checking.
They're questioning my story."
And I remember thinking to
what horrible people they are.
BRENDAN: I'm thinking, "This
guy's on to her,"
because there's no reason why
she should be
so uncomfortable about this.
ELIA: Here's Linda, supposedly,
this is the,
this is, this is the sixth
Linda should be in her own
and she's worried about Tania
LINDA: I begged her.
I begged her to give me
a piece of evidence that I could
go to to The New York Times.
I begged her, "Give me the name
of the firefighter
that carried you out that
morning, the one that was,
that you were handed off to
and threw you underneath that
fire truck
when the tower came down right
on West Street.
You told me that story a million
You and that firefighter
Everybody else in Tania's story
had died.
I begged her for the name of
that firefighter,
and she wouldn't give it to me.
She would not give me the name
of that firefighter.
She wouldn't.
JANICE: I had suggested to her
to get an attorney.
I said, "Why don't you get
yourself an attorney?
This way then you know what your
rights are."
As we were going up in the
elevator, she says,
"Okay, Janice, I'm gonna tell
you my story.
I'm not a U.S. citizen.
That's why I can't say anything
to the reporters."
So, I said, "It doesn't matter
to me
you're not a U.S. citizen, you
That's okay.
I don't think anybody will mind
you're not a U.S. citizen."
So, we went into the lawyer's
and the lawyer said that I
didn't have
client privilege rights,
so that if, if it was okay, for
me to wait outside.
And I says, "Absolutely.
I'm here just to, you know, as
her friend."
I sat outside for two hours, and
the lawyer calls me in.
She started saying things back
to Tania
that they had spoke about in the
and as she was saying back to
Tania, you know,
"It's okay that you only knew
Dave a few months,"
and now here the story I had
known was that
she was married, and, you know,
they had this long relationship.
TANIA HEAD: My life was perfect.
JANICE: And it's okay, Tania,
that you were only here for the,
in the building for the day.
TANIA HEAD: I worked in the
World Trade Center.
She died, and I didn't.
JANICE: And I just could not
believe what I was hearing.
I was like, I actually, I think
I went into shock.
TANIA HEAD: Why am I special?
Why, why was I spared? Why
didn't they make it?
I was smelling my own skin
Definitely a love story.
It feels wrong to have walked
out of there alive
when so many people didn't.
LINDA: Janice called me and
asked me if I was sitting down,
and I said, "Yeah, I'm, I'm just
sitting down.
I was and having my cup of
It was morning, and she started
telling me
that Tania is not who she said
she was.
JANICE: And she was like, "Oh,
no, come on."
And I said, "Well, this is what
I heard
in the attorney's office,"
and the both of us started
looking things up.
LINDA: She's not a fraud.
She's a person that's hurting.
And she said, "No, Linda."
She goes, "Her name is not what
she's been telling us.
There was no husband Dave.
She didn't even have a
relationship with Dave.
We don't even think she was in
the towers that day."
ELIA: When I got the phone call,
I was at work,
and I immediately started
yelling out right in my office,
"What happened? What happened?"
Because I thought she had done
something to herself,
and I didn't wanna hear it.
I didn't wanna hear it that she
had done something to herself.
And Linda kept saying, "It's not
what you think.
It's not what you think. It's
not what you think."
And finally, she blurted out the
and I wanted to hang up the
I wanted to yell at Linda and
"How could you say that?
How could you say that she's a
KATIE COURIC: We end tonight
with a story
that began on 9/11, a story of
tragedy and heroism,
survival and love.
There's just one problem.
As Jeff Glor reports, the story,
repeated many times
in the past six years, may be a
complete fabrication.
FEMALE VOICE #3: Shocked and
MALE VOICE #4: The New York
discovered a flood of
CHRIS WAGGE: A Manhattan woman
is under fire tonight.
DIANE SAWYER: Turning now to a
mysterious story
about a woman and a possible
stunning deception.
MALE VOICE #5: No World Trade
Center job, no fianc,
no dramatic escape.
MALE VOICE #6: Merrill Lynch,
the financial management company
where she claimed to work,
had no record of her employment.
AMANDA RIPLEY: I was shocked,
you know.
I couldn't believe it. What
happened here?
Why, why did she do this,
and why did none of us question
JEFF GLOR: There was no evidence
that she made money off her
but she certainly gained fame.
FEMALE VOICE #4: Can we talk to
you for a minute, please?
FEMALE VOICE #5: Head has now
been removed as president
of a 2,000 member organization
of Trade Center survivors.
BRENDAN: The person that we saw
and that we believed in never
LORI: This was totally shocking,
totally shocking,
because of all the things I
ever think about somebody,
that's just not something that I
would think about.
BRENDAN: You're looking at
everyone with suspicion.
If Tania can lie... anybody
could lie.
LORI: Perhaps she's evil.
Perhaps there's some thread of
evil in there.
I don't know.
Evil is not a word that ever
existed in my life
until September 11th, but I know
evil exists,
and it is possible.
LINDA: Tania was my sign that
God was there that day.
I felt like God had protected
Well, God's gonna protect me
also because
she beat the odds that day.
She beat all the odds that day.
So, to have that taken away from
the sign that God was there that
...there's a, there's nothing
that she could ever say
to me today or going forward
that will ever change the pain
and the anger, and I'm sorry,
but the hatred that I have
for that woman right now.
I don't have any room in my
heart to find sadness for her.
What she did to me, what she did
to the 9/11 community,
and what she has done to the
I want answers. I want to know.
I wanna know who she is. I need
to find that out.
I wanna know who she is. I need
to find that out.
JANICE: She didn't hurt anyone
She didn't sign any documents.
She did not do anything what we
would say is illegal.
GERRY BOGACZ: It is true that
Tania never stole
any money from the, she never
made any money
from this involvement.
I don't think money was what her
objective was, frankly.
LORI: Why she's done this has
everybody wonders that.
Myself, I don't know.
AMANDA RIPLEY: I think after
we all wanted to have a piece of
I mean, I think if we're being
honest with ourselves,
there was a really human, strong
desire to,
to not only give back and try to
but also to connect to it in
some fundamental way.
MARIAN FONTANA: Well, I think a
lot of people used 9/11
to heal themselves.
I mean, I think 9/11 became,
a religion for some people, you
It was a way to belong.
It was a way to be part of
something bigger than
ALICE GREENWALD: For some people
who need either some kind
of identity or some kind of
notoriety or visibility,
this became a way, in Tania's
case, I would guess,
I don't know for sure, but for
her to feel needed.
MARIAN FONTANA: I think, you
know, my, my friends
who are widows were like, "Why
would she wanna be us?"
You know, "Why would you want to
be us?"
And, you know, having known what
we've suffered,
it, you know, that was to all of
a very normal response to have.
Alicia Esteve Head.
LORI: You know, when I think
about what Tania
was doing on 9/11, 2001,
she probably was just having a
regular day in Barcelona,
you know, getting up like
everyone else.
You know, someone made some form
of an announcement
that there's a terrorist attack
going on in Manhattan.
BRENDAN: From what I can tell,
she had never been
in the World Trade Center.
It's obvious she did her
research on Dave,
whom she had never met.
I mean, she knows where her
company was located.
So, she probably did her
research on us.
She was probably just watching
us and trying to see
what we were talking about and
how we felt,
and she adopted the personality.
You know, she knew how survivors
after going through something
like that,
and she became one of us.
BRENDAN: We didn't know much
her present life at the time.
ELIA: It would have been
actually cruel
for any one of us to question
her on anything.
It would have been downright
BRENDAN: I mean, she mentions
working for Merrill Lynch
and in this financial think tank
that she told us about,
but we had never been to her
We had never met any of her
and from what I understand,
she would actually rent office
space to meet people,
and nobody ever questioned it.
BRENDAN: Tania, to give her a
she's the best liar I've ever
I mean, she was so good at
staying on her story
that I really didn't notice any
until I knew her for a couple of
ELIA: Had we actually compared
notes like we do now,
we would have realized something
was wrong.
LINDA: She told me that she lost
her wedding ring in,
on September 11th and that
Tiffany's had replaced
the wedding ring that she had
GERRY BOGACZ: There were
references to her fianc
that, that changed from fianc
to husband back to fianc.
RICHARD She even promised the
Crowthers that she
had saved a piece of her burnt
clothing and would put it
in a plaque and give it to them.
LINDA: She told me on the day
that her brother died
that his wife had a baby on the
same day,
and they named the baby, Dave.
ELIA: I remember I was in her
apartment one time,
and she always talked about her
dog, Elvis,
and her dog, Elvis, and her old
dog, Elvis.
And one of the times that I was
in her apartment, I said,
"Where's your dog? I never see
your dog."
And she would always have the
same answer.
"Uh, Lupe is walking him."
And I remember one day I said,
"Boy, that dog gets walked a
lot. (Laughing)
That's the most walked dog.
I mean, that dog must love Lupe
because she's always walking
But one day, I went into the
and I asked her, "Where's,
where's your dog?
I wanna see your dog."
And she said, "Oh, you know,
Lupe's walking him."
And I said,
"Tania, do you or don't you have
a dog?"
I got right in her face because
it bothered me
that I couldn't, I love dogs,
so, it bothered me that I
couldn't see the dog.
And she just looked at me and
"Oh, yeah, of course I have a
BRENDAN: After The Times
article, she disappeared,
and I don't know if it's because
she actually
just left the country or if
she's just been hiding well,
but really, none of us have had
any contact
with her since then.
ELIA: The other thing she did
was she wrote me an email
and said, "Hello." That's it.
I saw that as her way of opening
up a line of communication.
I just deleted the email, and
that was it.
ELIA: There had to be some sort
of recognition
that she was doing something
and, um, and she was deviant in,
in, in that way,
but that is only something that
we see now.
That's something that we
couldn't see then.
the street.
LINDA: Right over here at this
two ladies with the two orange
gonna tell them you're family,
family members, right?
LINDA: Well, we're actually all
let me tell you, yeah.
them know,
and they'll let you in so you
can go inside,
all right, ma'am?
LINDA: Thank you.
So, follow me, guys.
No pushing, no shoving. (Laughs)
JANICE: I just hope that she
really does get
the help she needs and that she
can live a full life.
She's a smart woman.
She's talented, and she can
a lot of great stuff in this
So, forgiveness, yeah.
This, there, I absolutely
forgive her.
BRENDAN: I know we should
forgive, but I don't know.
It, it would really take a lot.
I, I don't think I could ever do
I, I just, I just feel that
hurt, that wronged.
troubled person.
There were issues that drove her
to do this.
And because she was not
functioning in a normal way,
how can you hold, you know, not
forgive someone like that?
GERRY BOGACZ: She's never
This is all a great mystery, and
it's, it is what it is,
and, and it's not gonna affect
my life any longer.
ELIA: I've already forgiven her.
Holding onto all the feelings
that I had
once I found out that she had
lied to us is
not gonna take me anywhere where
I wanna go.
We'll get through it. You know
We'll get through it. You know
LINDA: All the things that I was
doing this year
putting this together, I was
"Where's Tania when you need
You know what I mean?
And it just made me feel even
more upset because I'm like,
"I miss her." I really, I miss
You know, I, I miss it like I
miss life
back on September 10th.
I miss, I miss that.
I miss, I miss the what was.
I miss the what could have been.
That's what I miss.