MARYVILLE (WATE) – Little did Lezlie Bauler know that when she went to work at a Maryville Planet Fitness on September 11, she would take a picture that would go viral on Facebook.
“I walked in and I saw the firefighter getting ready to get on the stairs and I asked my coworker, ‘Hey what’s going on?’ And he explained what the firefighter was there to do. He said that Jason had signed in and wanted to climb 110 flights of stairs in honor of the victims that fell in 9/11 for his brothers and sisters,” Bauler said.
Jason Harding walked into the gym wearing his firefighter uniform and gear. He asked if he could climb 110 steps on the stair machine. Harding wanted to honor his fallen brothers and sisters who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks.
“When I saw him doing that I thought of all those that had fallen in 9/11 and just like him carrying their weight, like he was doing it for them,” Bauler said.
She was so moved she decided to take a picture and post it to Facebook.
Bauler said in the post, “I am not one to get emotional, but a few tears were shed. Thank you for your services.”
Before long the post went viral, with more than 146,000 shares by Monday afternoon.
“When it started to hit viral I just was like I don’t know what to do with myself. I just wanted other people to see but I didn’t realize how big it would actually get,” she said.
It was unexpected but good, Bauler said.
“It’s just absolutely overwhelming, it brought me to tears just scrolling through, reading an abundance of messages. It blows my mind of how quickly things can spread,” said Harding.
She was happy to see his message getting out there and hopes others will continue to take notice.
“I hope that everybody truly sees what it’s meant for and that it’s him honoring those. And I know that’s what he wants people to know is – that it’s honoring those that have fallen and that’s what he really wants it to be about,” she said.
“It was just one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever been a part of,” said Harding.