The “magic” of social media has connected an American tourist with the family she spontaneously photographed about one hour before the Notre Dame Cathedral went up in flames on Monday in Paris.
The bittersweet image has since been declared a “historic” shot, perhaps prompting the man in the image to elect to remain anonymous in the wake of the unbelievable tragedy.
On April 15, Twitter user Brooke Windsor took to the social platform to publicize her search for the two people, in a post that went wildly viral with over 469,000 likes, 224,000 shares and 2,400 comments to date.
In the image, a smiling man is about to lift and swing a toddler-aged little girl a few yards ahead of the 800-year-old landmark – less than an hour before flames engulfed the Gothic, 12th-century cathedral.
“I took this photo as we were leaving #NotreDame about an hour before it caught on fire. I almost went up to the dad and asked if he wanted it. Now I wish I had,” the Michigan woman captioned the pic. “Twitter if you have any magic, help him find this.”
After days of silence, the mission has been accomplished. On April 18, Windsor announced the good news that the family had been found.
“The search is over! The photo has reached the dad & family,” the 23-year-old traveler exclaimed. “He has chosen to remain anonymous in the wake of tragedy, and writes: ‘Thanks again for that beautiful photo, we will find a special place for it.’”
“Thank you to everyone who has shared the picture and for your kind words,” the do-gooder added, detailing that the father had contacted her through Twitter.
Commenters, meanwhile, were largely overjoyed to learn of the update.
“So glad you found them and have respected their privacy as asked for,” one fan gushed. “I’m sure this photo will become a part of that family’s history with quite a story to pass down.”
“Awww so it was a dad and daughter after all,” another agreed.
“This is amazing that social media was able to help you pass this beautiful photo on to them,” another opined. “So kind of you to want to share this moment of joy before tragedy.”