Man of Achievements
One of the first things immigrants need to know about is money — getting it, spending it, holding onto it. Luis Eduardo Torres had an understanding of all that almost from the moment he landed illegally in Mexico from Colombia in the late 1980's and then managed to walk across the border into the United States.
He arrived with little money of his own and hardly any English, but he acquired both and made his way to Wall Street. It didn't matter that he was getting lunch for the traders at the stock exchange, or later putting the numbers on the pre-electronic-age tally board. He was happy.
In time Mr. Torres became a currency broker, working in succession at several downtown firms until last August when he was laid off. Then, on Sept. 10, Mr. Torres, 31, who lived in Manhattan, began a new job as a senior broker at Cantor Fitzgerald.
"Eddie always appreciated things a lot more, having come from nothing," said Michael A. McLachlan, a broker who had worked with Mr. Torres at Tullette and Tokyo Liberty.
Mr. Torres bought an expensive bicycle and rode it hard. He hiked. And he sky-dived, the legacy of a brief stint as a paratrooper in the Colombian military. His wife, Alissa, thinks she saw him in a photograph of the burning towers, standing at an open window, looking out over the rushing air as though ready to sky-dive from a plane. "If anyone could have calmly figured out how to get out of the towers from up high," she said, "it would have been him."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on August 25, 2002.