Life can be strange sometimes. In the midst of disaster and catastrophe and horror there is redemption. Out of all of the bad news, a small glimmer of good news happens to shine through and give us all hope again.
One of those serendipitous moments has just occurred ironically as we reached and passed the 13-year milestone of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York.
A woman who lives in Boston has something precious. It was found in the rubble of the World Trade Centre. Battered and knocked around but in pretty good condition considering. It was a photo from a wedding. It showed six people including the bride and groom all happy. All smiling. It was a moment frozen in time from a much happier time. The woman, who has the photo, received it from a friend who happened to stumble across it just sitting in the rubble. It was one of those random things that happen. At one point it was probably sitting on a desk in an office on a floor inside one of the two World Trade Centre towers that collapsed.
But now having custody of this object, the woman from Boston could not stop thinking. Could not stop wondering what might have happened to the people in the photo. Were they alive? Or dead? She wanted to learn of their fate and most importantly reunite them with their precious possession. That became the starting point for her journey. She became determined. Obsessively determined to answer that question. She did the usual things you might do. Phone calls, letters but no luck. The years passed and still no joy, no clues, no news. But there must be something truly lucky about the number 13 or, you can never underestimate the power of social media.
The woman from Boston re-tweeted the image. She tried Twitter once before but it didn’t work. I guess she figured now would be a good time to give it another shot with the 13th anniversary and the focus again on past events. It was fired into the Twitter sphere. But this time was different. In fact so different she could never,in her wildest dreams, have anticipated the reaction to the photo. The image went viral. It was shared more than 60 thousand times. With that much reaction there was a chance, a slim chance that she might finally solve the mystery. She waited and then started getting replies. Yes. Somebody tweeted her. Somebody said they knew somebody who knew some, or one, of the people in the photo. And the hunt was well and truly on. And then there was a Eureka moment. A man who now lived in Colorado who used to live in Manhattan tweeted her. He saw the photo and said it used to be his. Then the two of them had a conversation. From all accounts it was a pretty amazing conversation as you might expect. The woman from Boston learned that all of the people in the photo were, thankfully, still alive. The recently married couple who were featured in the photo, were still married and living in California.
The man from Colorado, who owned the photo, said it was sitting on his desk on the 77th floor of Tower 2 of the World Trade Centre when the planes hit. And he was overwhelmed and grateful that the woman from Boston had kept it safe for 13 years. Now these two people, two strangers brought together by fate, tragedy, circumstance and social media are now working through the arrangements for the return of the photo to its rightful owner.