Professor Meets Man in Photo Found Near Ground Zero

After searching for 13 years, the two connected in New York City.

After thousands of people online helped a Boston-area professor locate and connect with a man in Colorado who lost a photo in the rubble left by the 9/11 attacks, the two met in New York City so she could return the picture to him.

On Monday morning, after spending the weekend fielding questions from the media, Lesley University assistant professor Elizabeth Stringer Keefe tweeted an image of herself with Fred Mahe, one of the people pictured in a photo found near Ground Zero one month after the terrorist attack:

A friend of Keefe’s gave her the photo during a visit to Manhattan in October 2001. Keefe told Boston in a previous interview that she kept the photo tucked away in her favorite Ernest Hemingway book, on a shelf for safe keeping, and on every anniversary for the last 13 years, she took it out and shared it on various social media sites in an effort to reconnect it with its rightful owner.

This year, as Keefe described it, was lucky number 13.

After her tweet of the photo went viral on Friday, gaining steam in local and national media, someone recognized Mahe in the photo and told him to reach out to Keefe.

The photo, which shows a married couple with friends outdoors, was taken in Aspen, Colorado, in 2001. It was later put on Mahe’s desk in his office on the 77th floor of Tower Two at the World Trade Center.

Thankfully, Mahe said, when the planes crashed into the buildings, he was still on his way to work.

After chatting briefly on Twitter, Mahe and Keefe were able to speak on the phone over the weekend, a conversation that Mahe told Boston was “amazing.”

The pair then arranged a rendezvous for a live television appearance, so they could share the incredible story about two complete strangers who were able to form a connection through a crumpled photo.