On the morning of September 11, 2001, Lara Clarke was headed to work at the World Trade Center. A brief run-in with Gwyneth Paltrow set her back a few minutes. Clarke believes those minutes saved her life.
Clarke admits she was jaywalking when Paltrow's SUV came to a screeching stop to avoid hitting her at an intersection in Greenwich Village. For a moment the two ladies played a game of stop and start with each signaling the other to go first. By that point both ladies were laughing. Clarke finally crossed the street and headed into the subway. She couldn't wait to get to work to tell her friends of her brush with celebrity.
The delay made Clarke miss one subway train and by the time she finally made it to her office at the World Trade Center, the first plane had already struck.
Fast forward ten years. Clarke has written a thank you letter to Paltrow saying, "The plane literally came into my office. I want to thank you for changing my fate on that terrible day."
Clarke believes she would have been at her desk on the 77th floor of Two World Trade Center if not for Paltrow. Four of her co-workers perished in the attack.
In the letter, Clarke called it her Sliding Doors moment, a reference to Paltrow's movie involving a missed train and fate. Clarke says she just wanted to say a simple thank you.
At a press conference at the Venice Film Festival, Paltrow revealed that was the first time she heard the woman's story.
Paltrow said, "I think a lot of fates were changed that day. Had we not had that interaction, she feels like her life would've taken a much different course. All I could think about is all of the people who had experiences like that that day, but aren't able to reach out because it wasn't a recognizable person. She saw it was me so she was able to get me a message."
Paltrow says she has sent Clarke an e-mail and is waiting to hear back.