The photo of Jeff Bauman being wheeled to an ambulance after a blast at the Boston Marathon destroyed his legs, surrounded by people who had rushed to help, has become iconic both of the disaster of that day and of the spirit that has lifted up the injured.
That picture captured a moment at the start of Bauman’s unexpected journey. In the Monday sports section of the New York Times, Tim Rohan explained some of what has happened since. Here Rohan describes the days after Bauman was discharged from Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in May and began venturing out more often in his wheelchair:
His legs would still get sore, but by now, he was familiar with the pain and was bored at home. He and [girlfriend Erin] Hurley went out to eat, and inevitably, someone recognized him. He rarely paid for a meal anymore. Chefs and managers offered him gifts. They had seen the marathon-day photograph, published around the world, of [Carlos] Arredondo wheeling him away, his legs shredded.
Bauman could not bear to see the photo now. But it resonated with people in Boston. It was shown on the scoreboard at Fenway Park when the Red Sox had Bauman and Arredondo throw out ceremonial first pitches together. The crowd roared as they took the field. One man asked Bauman for an autograph. “You’re an inspiration,” the man said.
Bauman had recently asked his mother why people so adored him. They respected his bravery, she had said, and he was the face of the tragedy, of those who survived.
Be sure to see Jeff Bauman talk about his goals moving forward in the accompanying video.