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Daughter searches for people her dad helped on 9/11

Mercedes Martinez hopes the power of social media can help find the passengers her father helped on September 11, 2001.
"Did my dad help you on September 11, 2001? If so, I'm trying to find you," Mercedes Martinez shared.
"Did my dad help you on September 11, 2001? If so, I'm trying to find you," Mercedes Martinez shared.Mercedes Martinez
/ Source: TODAY

One woman is looking for the people that her dad quietly helped on Sept. 11, 2001.

Mercedes Martinez, a Las Vegas-based radio and television host, is asking for help in identifying people her dad, Emilio, may have helped after the 9/11 attacks.

"Did my dad help you on September 11, 2001? If so, I'm trying to find you," Martinez wrote in a now-viral eleven-part Twitter thread. "On September 11th, 2001 my dad caught a flight in Ohio to fly home to Denver. He was there on business and was anxious to get home to see his family."

Shortly after takeoff, Martinez continued, the pilot on her dad's flight announced they were being grounded and they had to land at the nearest airport, which was Omaha, Nebraska.

"My dad knew something was wrong, so as soon as he got cell service, he called one of the rental car companies and asked to rent the biggest van they had," Martinez explained. "At this point they were still in the air."

When her father got off the plane, he picked up the van he rented, but that was only the beginning.

"He found a cardboard box by a trashcan and asked to borrow a sharpie from a ticket agent," Martinez wrote. "He made a sign out of the box that said 'GOING TO DENVER' on it. People started approaching him asking if he was going that way. He said yes, he rented a van and he would be able to take 7 people with him."

As word spread, the van heading for Denver filled up.

"He found 7 strangers, all scared (so was he), that just wanted to get home to their families," Martinez said. "The 8 of them hopped in and my dad drove them from Omaha to Denver. When they got to the metro area, he drove every single person to their home."

Martinez explained that her father ensured every passenger got "front door service."

"They all offered to pay him for the cost of the van. He wouldn't accept it. They offered him gas money. He didn't take it," she wrote. "To him, seeing those people make it to their families when the country was being attacked was the only thing that mattered to him. Many of those people kept in touch with him for several years after 9/11/01. It warmed his heart. We were so proud of him. We still are."

The Nevada host revealed that her dad died from brain cancer in 2016.

"I often wonder if those people still remember him," Martinez wrote. "I wonder if on the 20th anniversary of that day, will they think of him for a split second when they reflect on where they were?"

In her final tweet of the thread, which has garnered more than 20,000 shares and 55,000 likes, Martinez underscored the power of social media and asked for the public's help.

"I know there were so many heroes that day. I am grateful for each and every one. My dad has and always will be my hero," she said. "And I do believe my dad was a hero to 7 people that needed to get to their families in Denver on September 11th, 2001. If you were one of them, please DM me."