45-year-old Betty Ong was warm, caring, thoughtful and considerate, always thinking of others before herself. She had a smile that could light up a room and lift up a spirit. Gifted with an incredible sense of humor, Betty had a knack for making people feel comfortable and putting them at ease.
Betty adored her job as an American Airlines flight attendant. Based at Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, she spent 14 years on the job and earned the role of flight purser. Betty was the sort of flight attendant that skipped her breaks so she could tend to passengers. On overnight flights, she walked the aisles offering blankets.
"My sister was an amazing person, very funny, very caring, and she loved people," said Betty's sister, Cathie. "Betty saw the humor in everything and loved to bring it out. And she just loved to laugh. She had this unique laugh, it was very distinct. She would slap her knees while laughing, yet on the plane she was very professional."
One of Betty's greatest loves in life was caring for the elderly, and she paid special attention to them when they were onboard a flight she was working. On her days off, Betty would drive for 30 minutes from her home in Andover, Massachusetts, to Boston, where she would have lunch and take walks with senior citizens at a local community center.
On the morning of September 11th, Betty was working onboard American Airlines Flight 11 when hijackers overtook the plane. She immediately placed a call to the American Airlines reservation desk, reporting that the aircraft had been hijacked and that several people had been stabbed.
Betty remained on the phone for 23 minutes, communicating critical information about the situation unfolding around her. As the plane rapidly descended towards the World Trade Center's North Tower, Betty said over and over again, "Pray for us. Please pray for us."
The ground staff who talked to Betty were astonished by her bravery, professionalism and courage. "It was never about 'Help me, pray for me,'" said Nydia Gonzales, an American Airlines supervisor who spoke to Betty until the very end. "It was about 'Pray for us, help us.' That's a totally selfless person."