(NEW YORK) -- Many people were called heroes on 9/11, and Michael Benfante is no exception.
On Sept. 11, 2001, Benfante was at work on the 81st floor of Tower One at New York City's World Trade Center when a plane struck the skyscraper just a few floors above him.
"You saw an explosion in the Twin Towers," he recalls. "When the plane hit there was a lot of confusion and a lot of fear. You were as high as anybody who managed to get out safely."
On his way down the stairs, Benfante encountered a woman in a wheelchair who needed assistance.
"I just said, 'Do you need help?' and she said, 'Yes,'" he says.
So he and a colleague picked up Tina Hansen and carried her down 68 flights.
"I just kept thinking I want to get out of here, I want to get Tina out of here, this woman and I want to go home," Benfante says.
It took more than an hour to escape, and they did so just in time -- minutes later the North Tower collapsed.
Benfante was interviewed that tragic day, covered in dust, and was called a hero.
"You'd like to think that I carried her out, I survived, got married and storybook ending -- live the rest of your life in bliss -- but trauma changes you," he says.
Guilt and pain overwhelmed him, as he writes about in Reluctant Hero, a book that urges us to remember what Benfante learned on 9/11: "Help someone that can't help themselves."
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