April 15, 2004

Robyn Eisenberg

Dear Sophie, Rose and Mr. O’Neal:

I have been working at Brannan Square for one year and had the honor to know your Ray. Ray is in my thoughts every day and I wanted to take a moment to tell you about the impact he had on my life here at Brannan.

I am a 26-year-old female Project Accountant, right out of college, working on a construction site. I had to learn very quickly that people on a construction site are not always the most sensitive people in the world and it did take some getting used to. Ray was not in this category. Whenever he would come into my office to grab a file or an invoice, he always said hello to me and would chat a bit. Specifically, Ray always remembered what was going on in my life and would ask me about it.

In November my fiancé and I got engaged, and he was one of the few to wish me a congratulations. We talked for a few moments and above all, I remember him saying to me that this is such a special time and I should enjoy every moment.

In particular, on February 23rd I had a very special day. There had been somewhat of a crisis here on Brannan Square regarding PG&E. I had gotten a bill for $50,000 worth of electricity for 9 months of service on an account in Bovis’s name, but that no one knew existed. All the Project Managers told me that Ray was my guy. So, the Friday before, Ray and I spoke and decided that we would personally pay PG&E a visit on Monday first thing.

Monday morning, Ray and I got into his car and started what I have described to many as our “field trip.” The ride was about 15 minutes and in this time, Ray had asked me all about the wedding plans, I learned about sweet little Rose and that Jackson Fillmore is one of your favorite restaurants (it’s one of Mike’s & my favorites, too). I asked if it was hard for Ray to get out with you, Sophie, and go to a restaurant because of babysitters, etc, but Ray explained that Rose just went along with you. You had learned the power of a box of crayons and a coloring book. I told him that the Friday before, we had been there with a bunch of friends and that we stayed forever, in the meantime the customers waiting for a table were glaring at us all the while, trying to get us to leave – Ray commented on how it’s funny how that is because as soon as those same customers would be seated, they would stay as long as they pleased, and ignore all of the new people in line! I also learned that you, Sophie, are a Cal grad, as am I, and that you all love the Bay Area…

The first stop was PG&E in the Mission. We stood in line for about 25 minutes and then finally got to the window. I am not exaggerating when I say this – Ray and I then stood at that window speaking to the teller for close to 2 hours. The woman was desperately trying to straighten out all of our accounts. After about 45 minutes, I started insisting to Ray that it really was unnecessary for him to stay with me and that I knew he had a ton of work to do but he refused – instead he pointed out how the LONG line that had formed behind us was getting noticeably angrier and angrier at the two of us for hogging the 1 of 2 windows for so long (just like at Jackson Fillmore). While we stood there, waiting for things to work out, Ray and I chatted a bit here and there. Sometimes in mid-sentence he would take out his notebook from his pocket and jot something down – he said that he needed to write things down just as he thought of them – his mind was constantly on the job…

We talked about running marathons, triathlons, swimming, climbing… I am training for my first marathon with Team in Training, and he told me how much he admired the organization and its cause… He told me about his marathon years ago… and I told him I would keep him updated on my progress.

Finally, by about 10:45 we were done at PG&E. I felt so badly because I had taken Ray away from the job for so long. But instead of rushing us back to the jobsite, Ray decided we deserved a few detours for all of our effort. First stop was a burrito truck a few blocks away in the middle of nowhere. We stood on the street and ate pork and beef burritos at 10:45 in the morning – I loved it!!! He pointed across the street to a rock climbing gym and asked if I had ever tried climbing before. I told him I hadn’t, and he told me all about it, and how I MUST try it with my fiancé sometime soon. We finished off our burritos and then he told me that my last stop before we would return to the jobsite would be to run across the street and just peek inside the gym, and then he would come around with the car for me. I followed his directions and got a chance to see the amazing gym with all of the climbers on the wall – what a crazy sight.

Finally we got in the car and made our way back to Brannan Square. We checked a few things on site and I told him I would be in touch with him in the next few days to let him know how things progressed.

I had a great day, that Monday. I got home and wanted to tell Mike all about the different places I had been that morning, and about how cool Ray had been, but then for some reason I just decided not to. I made the conscience decision not to tell him about it. So now I ask myself why didn’t I share this with Mike? I tell him almost everything about each and every day. But there was just something about what Ray and I had done that day, that was so fun and almost a little silly – all the stops – I kind of felt like I was ditching school – and all the things we had spoken about, that I think I just felt like it wouldn’t do the experience justice to tell anyone about it. The only words I have to describe that morning of February 23rd are that it was so much fun.

What you, your family, and friends have lost is incomprehensible. Ray was a man so full of life and so full of love for his family and friends around him that unless you had the opportunity to experience his friendship, you had no way of even understanding what he was about.

Ray will forever hold a very special place in my heart. I will never forget our field trip and I will never forget his sensitivity towards others and love for his family. I can only try each and every day to strive to reach his level of kindness and warmth.

Allow me to add one final thought. On the days after Ray’s tragedy, the Brannan Square team sat together and spoke about what we remembered most about Ray. I said that his thoughtfulness in always asking me how I was and asking me about things going on in my life was what I remembered. Ray was unique in this characteristic, as I have often felt very lonely on this jobsite, not having many people to talk to or share things with. In the month since Ray’s tragedy, I feel that people have truly become more in tune with each other. Just this morning a colleague came in to chat and I thought to myself that this is just not something usual. Please understand that Ray has given us all hope and direction. I know that I am not alone in feeling that if each of us had a little bit of Ray in us, the world would just be better.

Thank you for sharing your Ray with me for the few months that I had the pleasure of knowing him.

Sincerely yours,
Robyn Eisenberg