New York Times Portraits of Grief

Chris Michael Kirby

At Yankee Stadium last summer, Chris Michael Kirby raced up and down the escalators looking for a young boy who had wandered off. The boy's father had been frantic, and Chris had offered to help. Finally, Chris spotted the boy stepping into the women's bathroom. He ran in after him, calling out, "Coming in, girls!"

The son of a Bronx firefighter, Chris grew up in a family used to helping strangers. "He was a great kid — he would help anybody," said his father, Mickey Kirby.

Chris, 21, was born on New Year's Day and was nicknamed Happy because of his happy-go-lucky nature. He was working as a carpenter while taking classes to become a firefighter like his father. A few days before he disappeared, he called his family, who now live in Middletown, N.Y. His father told him, as he always did: "Be good. I love you." And Chris responded, as he always did, "Dad, I love you, too."