Michigan woman seeking man and girl in viral Notre Dame photo

Apr 16, 2019 at 11:10 am

The internet was ablaze Monday as news broke that a catastrophic fire had consumed the historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The flames, which took firefighters nearly 12-hours to extinguish, ravaged the structure's roof and iconic towering spire where the fire is believed to have originated, leaving the 12th-century church exposed to the elements. Residents and visitors spent the day lining the streets and along the Seine River, some mourned and sang hymns, while others gawked as 850 years of history turned to ash.

Among those to capture the historic site was Michigan's Brooke Windsor, who snapped a now-viral image just before the fire.

"I took this photo as we were leaving #NotreDame about an hour before it caught on fire," Windsor said in a tweet. "I almost went up to the dad and asked if he wanted it. Now I wish I had."

The image shows the cathedral against a clear, blue sky and a blur of pedestrians. The focus of the cellphone photo, though, is a man smiling while swinging a young child, her feet a few feet off of the ground.

As of Tuesday morning, the Twitter post has more than 110,000 retweets, nearly twice as many likes, and has been shared across countless international news outlets in hopes of helping Windsor identify the man and child in the photo.

"I do not know for sure if it was a dad and daughter, it’s simply the dynamic I observed from them while debating on interrupting this moment," Windsor commented in response to a flood of direct messages she had received. "It may be an uncle, brother, friend, who knows until we find them."

Twitter users have jumped on the effort, some saying that they remember seeing the unidentified man and his family at other scenic attractions throughout Paris over the weekend. Others used her thread as an opportunity to share their images of the pre-fire cathedral, and some shared conspiracy theories ranging from arsonist drones to time-travel.

Mostly, though, the post has received gratitude, as many are thankful for some feel-good news amid the tragedy. Many have also deemed the photo as instantly "iconic."

Updated: Windsor said on Twitter that she found the man and gave him the photo.

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