Many Americans have a story to tell about where they were on September 11th, 2001. A 9-11 survivor told his story at ECU Wednesday night. A blind man and his Seeing Eye dog, escaped the Twin Towers after terrorist attack.
The Chicago native has been blind since birth.
"My parents were told to put me in a home because a blind person could never amount to anything and would ever be successful in society," Hingson said.
He said he decided at a young age he would change that stereotype.
"Blindness isn't the handicap, the real challenges that I face consists of the poor attitudes and misconceptions people have," Hingson explained.
Hingson grew up and became the sales manager for the computer company Quantum. His office was located on the 78th floor of the World Trade Center.
He said he gets by with his trusty Seeing Eye dog Africa.
"We’re a team, she’s the pilot and I’m the navigator," Hingson said.
He was working when the Twin Towers were attacked, with nowhere to go but down 78 flights of stairs.
"There was no question about evacuating so we went to the stairs and went down," Hingson said.
He traveled all the way down the stairs, led by his guide dog at the time named Roselle. A plane had struck the tower just 15 floors above where he worked.
"We work together to get a job done, and on 9-11 it was getting out of the towers which we did. Then later running away from the towers after is collapsed," Hingson said.
Shortly after 9-11 Hingson was asked to become a motivational speaker for Guide Dogs for the Blind. In 2011 his book “Thunder Dog” was number one on New York Times best-selling author list for several weeks. Hingson now travels all over the world sharing his message.
"Don't worry about the things you can't control, focus on the things you can, and the rest will deal with itself," he said.