(NEW YORK) — A close friend and neighbor of the family whose son scaled Trump Tower yesterday said the climber was a “nice kid, the boy next door.”
In an interview with ABC News, Carolyn Garofalo said that Peter and Gina Ryan returned from Europe to their Great Falls, Va. home last night to learn their son Michael made the climb. She said they had asked Michael if he wanted to join their trip before they left, but he declined.
Instead, Michael went to New York and scaled the side of Trump Tower with suction cups and a harness for more than two hours. Watched by viewers across the country, he was yanked by police after reaching the 21st floor of the 68-story building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
“We’re shocked,” Garofalo said. “We didn’t even know he climbed. And he had to be a good climber to get up 20 floors.”
Before Michael’s parents left for Europe, Garofalo and her husband said they had the Ryan family over for dinner at their home. She said she noticed nothing unusual about Michael.
“He seemed in a good mood,” she said. “We did not discuss politics.”
According to the neighbor, Michael did not graduate from high school but does have his GED. She wondered if Michael had ever been to New York before.
Michael was employed at Pots & Plants on the Pike, a nursery close to his family home in Great Falls, VA. ABC News confirmed with the nursery that Michael worked there, but they declined an on-camera interview. One coworker of Michael’s, who also attended school with him, said Michael was in “gifted and talented” classes growing up and was “very smart.”
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