I believe we all have different chapters in our lives. When I was in my 20s I worked for United Airlines and travelled a lot. Traveling is one of my greatest passions!
However, during this time of my life two things happened that impacted my life forever.
The morning of February 28, 1998. That morning, I was waiting for the United Airlines’ shuttle service that drives their employees to work at the airport. That morning, the shuttle never showed up to pick me up.
I called my supervisor, and she told me to take a cab and get to the airport.
While I was in the cab, the driver told me that there was a van with airline employees on their way to the airport that had a terrible accident. I thought, ‘No, that can’t be my van. That can’t be the shuttle.’
When I arrived at the airport, my supervisor called me and asked me to sit down. She explained to me that the van taking airline employees to the airport was in fact an United Airlines shuttle. Out of all the employees on that van, three died almost instantly and the others were rushed to the hospital.
I was the only one the United Airlines shuttle did not pick up that morning.
This incident made me think a lot about how short our lives can be, and how sometimes the unexpected can happen, and we could leave our homes in the morning and never come back.
The other date that I will never forget — as I’m sure many other will never forget — is Sept. 11, 2001. The tragedy that day touched the lives of many people all around the world. Let me share with you what happened to me.
At that time, I was working for United Airlines in Mexico City. I was enlisted on flight United 93 on Sept. 11, 2001; however, United Mexico requested me to return a day earlier. I had to change my flight schedule and fly back from New York on Sept. 1o on flight UNITED 93, instead of the 11th.
I made it home safely on Sept. 10 to hear about the dreadful tragedy of 9/11.
United Flight 93, the plane I was originally scheduled to be onboard for 9/11, was one of the four planes hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists. Passengers on that flight, the flight I was supposed to be on, tried to regain control of the plane, but it crashed near Shanksville, Penn., and all passengers, crew members and the terrorists aboard the flight died in the crash.
The evening of Sept. 11, I went back to my apartment, sat down and burst into tears. My entire family was in Perú, and they had no clue that I was even in New York that weekend. They had no idea I was enlisted on the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania. How come, by some sort of fate, plans for me changed and I wasn’t on that flight? WHY? All I could come up with, was that God had different plans for me. There has to be a reason for me to be here today, right now, instead of being on United Flight 93, right?
Those two tragedies greatly impacted my life. So much so, that when I began my jewelry business, I knew that this business had to be much more than just business that earned profit.
When I developed my jewelry business plan I decided to actively assist and raise funds for non-profits — to give back to my community. This act of social responsibility to my community, my peers and my world has given me an answer to one of my BIG questions: What is my purpose in life?
Even though I love making my jewelry, giving back to the community is just as big of a part of our business mission. When Evelyn Brooks Designs was in it’s beginnings stages, my parents were participants of the Legion of Mary and were committed to doing social work.
Throughout the past 10 years, I have made it my mission to have my business — Evelyn Brooks Designs — help different organizations raise funds and reach their goals.
And we have!
Among many of the non-profit organizations we give back to, these are just a few: Empowered Women International, Fashion Fights Poverty, the Green Cup Polo, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, The Humane Society, Susan G. Komen, Coprodeli among others.
Also, we have designed jewelry charms, cufflink, pendants with logos of the non-profit organizations, and these items are sold at the different events in order to raise funds for the organization.