The great blizzard mystery of 2015 has been solved. A photograph taken of a mystery person shoveling the Boston Marathon finish line during the blizzard sparked interest all over the Internet, and now the shoveler’s identity has been revealed.
Philip L. Hillman spotted the person shoveling the finish line during Tuesday’s blizzard from his hotel room, snapped a pic, and posted it to Twitter. The photograph quickly made rounds on the Internet and became a mystery everyone wanted to solve.
— Philip L. Hillman (@PhillyIdol1017) January 27, 2015
Hillman and his friend, Grabrielle Daniels, used the hashtag #WhoShoveledTheFinishLine, which began trending on Twitter. The Boston Police Department posted the photograph on Twitter and Facebook, asking the public for help in identifying the mystery person.
Turns out the mystery person shoveling the finish line during the blizzard is local bartender Chris Laudani, of Back Bay Social, a neighborhood restaurant. According to the Washington Post, Ryan Swann, manager of the restaurant, recognized the mystery person.
“I was like, ‘Oh shoot, that was Chris!'” Swann said in a telephone interview.
Chris Laudani told ABC News he participated in the Boston Marathon in 2011 and talked about why he chose to shovel the finish line during the blizzard.
“I decided I’m going to go dig up the finish line because I love that race and everything the city stands for. I love the city, I love the Boston marathon.”
During Laudani’s shift, he went outside and helped coworkers shovel snow around the bar, which stayed open during the blizzard though the city had shut down. He then decided to shovel the finish line, which took him about twenty minutes.
He said it’s his “favorite place in the entire city” and “doesn’t deserve to be covered in snow because it [is] a symbol of Boston and our community.”
The Boston Athletic Association’s Executive Director, Tom Grilk, released a statement.
“For someone to brave the winter blizzard to clear our finish line for us is yet another statement as to what our event means not only to runners but also to Americans. We, at the Boston Athletic Association are the organizers and are responsible for the management of the Boston Marathon, but an act like we see depicted here proves that — in Boston — everyone owns the Marathon.”
Laudani just found out today that he is at the center of the blizzard mystery and was shocked by all the media attention. He doesn’t want to be called a hero because he just “wanted to do a good deed for the community because I love Boston.”
“I think it’s cool that so many people feel the same way, but I saw the word ‘hero’ being tossed around and that I don’t like. I’m no hero, I’m just a nut who loves the marathon. The real heroes are the people who were out there clearing the streets and sidewalks, the [Boston Police Department], and the [Boston Fire Department] who risk their lives every day to keep people safe.”
Blizzard mystery solved.
[Image used with permission from Phillip K. Hillman]