'Live for the Moment'
Perhaps it was his job that made Fabian Soto think the way he did about the future. He was a window washer at the World Trade Center, responsible for keeping a mountain of glass clean in perpetuity.
"He used to say, `Live for the moment and don't dwell on the future,' " said his wife, Elda. "He was convinced he would die young."
So after he got his union job with ABM Industries in August 2001, Mr. Soto, 29, washed window after window during the day. At night he danced. On weekends he played soccer with a Latin team in Newark. He liked to buy fancy clothes, and joked constantly about life.
Despite what he said about living for today, Mr. Soto obviously dreamed of creating a better tomorrow for his 8-year-old son, Juan Fabian. That was why, just after the boy was born, Mr. Soto left his hometown, Macara, Ecuador, and came to New York. Mrs. Soto left Ecuador for New York a few years after that, placing her son in the care of his grandparents.
With the security of his union job, Mr. Soto planned to bring Juan Fabian to New York. The paperwork was being processed when the twin towers were attacked, with Mr. Soto washing the windows of the observation deck.
Juan Fabian and his mother now live together in Harrison, N.J. They sometimes wear T-shirts, printed with a photo of Mr. Soto and with the message, "Always in our hearts."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on March 17, 2002.