A photograph of a man who worked in the World Trade Center was returned to its original owner after over a decade.
Fred Mahe worked at the World Trade Center and was a few minutes late to work on the fateful day of Sept. 11, 2001. He saw the aftermath of the first plane to hit the buildings and witnessed the second impact from a nearby rooftop, according to Mashable.
But the story of the photo's journey begins with Elizabeth Keefe, a professor who received it from a friend who found it while searching the rubble of the destroyed towers, according to Newsweek. The photo depicted a young, happy wedding party of three men and three women, all six smiling in front of a snowy backdrop.
For years, Keefe sought to find the original owner of the photo or at least make contact with any of its subjects, but to no avail. Keefe would search databases of photos of those killed in the attacks, hoping to at least identify someone. Eventually, Keefe turned to the Twitter community to help in the search.
After a week, someone recognized Mahe.
"A friend of mine, who I used to work with in the World Trade Center, sent me a text message. And said: ‘Fred, you’ve got to check out this link.' … I looked at it like: 'Oh my God, crazy,'" Mahe said.
"It was tacked to the wall, set up on my two tacks," Mahe continued. "[To have] a picture with people I love -- that’s a really cool thing to get. Much cooler than a paycheck stub."
Mahe noted that he was touched by Keefe's relentless search, admiring the fact that she never gave up after years of looking.
"Her actions speak to what happened on 9/12 of 2001," Mahe says. "That’s when humanity was at our best. Obviously, we saw the worst of humanity on 9/11. How I saw people act on 9/12 was the coolest thing ever. She embodies that. She embodies how wonderful people can be."
As fate would have it, the photo mystery was solved on Sept. 12, 2014.
"It was my small contribution, trying to do something good in conjunction to 9/11,” Keefe told the New York Daily News. "The purpose for me was to bring some small comfort to someone."
"I remember that moment exactly -- it was all my Colorado friends and it was fun being on that balcony,” said Christine Laredo, the bride in the photo. "We’re still married and very happy."
"What a lovely person Elizabeth is to be dedicated and try to find the owners,” she added. “That makes me have a renewed hope for humanity."