Toddler’s stuffed monkey left behind on 9/11 has family searching 20 years later

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On September 11, 2001, Abe Wachsman moved into his office in the Financial District of New York City. As the horrors of the terrorist attacks unfolded that morning, the watchmen piled strangers into his car to bring them to safety.

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The Watchmen saw a family with three of his unidentified men on FDR Drive just north of Battery Park. He offered them a ride and the couple piled on with their child.

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Before returning to his home in Queens, he dropped off all his passengers at their requested stops. But they soon realized that one was left behind.

“It wasn’t until I got back home and managed to see what had happened that I saw the monkey,” Wachsman told Granthshala News.

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Twenty years later and many cars later, the stuffed monkey left behind has been the watchman’s constant driving companion. Now their daughter, Jessica Waxman-Selznick, is on a mission to reunite money with its rightful owner—the child who would be in their 20s today.

“20th Anniversary” [of the terrorist attacks] It made me think about it more than usual,” Wachsman-Selznick told Granthshala News. “I’m sorry I didn’t do it that long ago.”

Wachsman said he believed the couple was from out-of-state and may have stayed in a hotel on the streets of their 20s or 30s, possibly in Chelsea.

Abe Wachsman(Credit: Jessica Wachsman-Selznick)

“I was thinking to myself at the time if there was a way to possibly get it back to the owner,” he said. “I had my own grandchildren and the thought that a family and their little one would come to New York on a joy trip to cope with it, and then the child loses him or her toy. It touched my heartstrings.”

Wachsman told Granthshala News that he promised he would give the monkey back to the child who had lost it, if ever possible.

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The day Wachsman picked up the family he was driving a black 2001 Lexus SUV. He told Granthshala News that by the time the family got into the car, the car was in ashes. He said there was little or no interaction between the passengers and the family requested them to go out with the FDR drive on the streets of their 20s. They believe that they were walking from there to their hotel.

The “9/11 Monkey”, which has come to be called the toy, has been in good care for the past two decades. Wachsman told Granthshala News that he never thought about leaving it.

“For anyone in the field of 9/11 there are some things that are explored in memory and integral to the experience,” he said. “I could not give the monkey to anyone other than the owner.”

Wachsman-Selznick told Granthshala News that her father is a “big marshmallow.”

“He will be very happy to have the monkey reunited with its owner,” she said.

Read more of this story on Granthshala News.


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