Last act

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

September 24, 2012 1:44:03 PM PDT
Took his kids to school. I think that's how I most want to be remembered. I've tried to take my kids to school most days; working nights, mornings are often the most-quality-time I've had with them on the weekdays.

I'm thinking along those lines because of the horrific and sudden death of Ruby Baum, the father and father-in-law, respectfully, of my colleagues and good friends Danielle Baum Rossen and Jeff Rossen. Danielle's a senior producer at ABC News and Jeff's a much-respected former reporter for ABC and for Eyewitness News.

Ruby, as you've heard us report this weekend and this morning, was hailing a cab with his wife, Denise, late Saturday night at 59th and Park. Two cars collided, and one of them headed straight for the Baums. Ruby, who won two Purple Hearts, I think qualifies for a third for what happened next: He pushed his wife out of the way, as the car ran Ruby over, pinning him under the vehicle.

His last act - was heroic. Some 40 years before, he and Denise had met as strangers hailing the same cab. They decided to share it - and by the time the ride was over, they seemed to each know that they'd end up sharing the rest of their lives.

Hailing a cab - book ending their lives together.

It's just so sad.

But it's also thought provoking, because - and I don't about you - I often wonder how I'd react in any given situation. We don't know for sure, of course, whether we'll react like Ruby did, saving his wife, and the mother of two of his kids. Saving her without regard for his own life. A real hero.

I was thinking about Ruby as my wife and I walked my youngest daughter to pre-school this morning. What would I do if - bite my tongue - a car jumped the curb. Would I react fast enough? Would I drop my bag to free my arm so I could somehow try to protect both of them? Would there be enough time for me to do anything?

It's imponderable. And painful. But we do this in so many other parts of our life - from planning fire escapes, to having extra water stored away, to buying life insurance.

I guess the hope is that we have the courage and the instinct to act like Ruby Baum did.

I know that's of some comfort to Denise, and to Ruby's kids, and to his grandkids - who won't fully understand their grandfather's bravery until they are grown. For now, they'll simply miss the presence of this wonderful, loving man.

So many of you have written in, expressing condolences to Danielle and Jeff, who are part of our ABC family. I know they have felt your sympathy and love.

That, for me, is the backdrop as we plan our 11 p.m. newscast.

We are following the latest attack on a New York City bus driver - this one in Brooklyn, where a man stabbed the driver in the shoulder with a needle. This is the third recent attack, and it's sparking worries that this is now something of a spree. What's going on? We try to answer that, tonight at 11.

We're also in Yonkers, with an unusual twist on high school sports. A 17-year-old boy, wanting to play volleyball but unable to because his school doesn't have a boys' team. Only a girls' team. So he wants to play with them, but can't, according to the school. Is that fair? Remember when girls made the same argument when there weren't girls' teams?

And our investigative reporter Jim Hoffer has quite a story about a foreclosure assistance program in New Jersey, stocked for the past 2 years with $300 million in federal funds to help unemployed peeps from losing their home.

Turns out - a majority of people who need this program in New Jersey have been told they do not qualify. Say what? Jim's eye-opening investigation airs tonight at 11.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.


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