Calm in Face of Horror
She was feminine, very humorous, very caring, and she loved people," said Cathie Ong, whose sister Betty was an attendant on Flight 11. "She saw the humor and loved to bring out the humor. And she just loved to laugh. She had this habit, when she laughed, it was just very distinct. She would slap her knees when she would laugh, yet on the plane she was very professional."
Passengers and crew members loved Ms. Ong, 45. "She made everybody feel like they knew her right away," Cathie Ong said. "She had a knack for making people feel at ease. But if you were out of line with her, she wouldn't hesitate to put you in place. She was tough when she had to be."
Recently, Betty Ong's parents and siblings listened to the tape of her speaking with her supervisor during the hijacking, describing what was happening. "She was outstanding, under those circumstances," Cathie Ong said. "It's hard for us all to imagine ever being in those shoes. My family and I, we cried. She was just exemplary in her performance, her attitude and everything."
"She was very take-charge, and we were very proud of her. She was very calm."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on February 17, 2002.