"Precious" star Gabourey Sidibe's life was spared on 9/11 because she woke up too late to make it to school.
Sidibe, who was born and raised in New York City, was due to attend class in lower Manhattan on the morning of September 11, 2001, but, after falling behind schedule, the actress was forced to stay home - and things could have turned out quite differently for her had the morning gone as planned.
Speaking to the New York Daily News, she says, "September 11, 2001, was the beginning of my first week at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). The school is located in Tribeca and was then split into two campuses: one on the West Side Highway and another building across the street from the World Trade Center.
"I had class that morning at eight. Though this almost never happens to me, I woke up too late to get there on time. Even though I was disappointed in myself for waking up so late, I decided to just turn on my TV and catch a talk show. In about 10 minutes, I became aware of the planes hitting the towers.
"Later that day, one of the towers fell on the school building that I had class in, and people lost their lives. BMCC shut down for a month because the school became a make-shift space for police, firefighters and EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians).
"When the school did reopen in mid-October, I could smell the soot and ashes from the huge hole in the city that was Ground Zero. The smell lingered in every classroom.
"At the entrance, there were photos of students and teachers who died in the other building, lining the walls as a memorial."