Twenty-year old Nicholas Simmons disappeared from his New York home on New Year’s Day. But with the help of photography and social media, his parents found him.
Christmas and New Year are two of the most celebrated occasions of the year, and most people would take the opportunity to spend these holidays with their loved ones. It’s not always the case though, as with 20-year-old New York resident Nicholas Simmons, who disappeared from his home on New Year’s Day, leaving behind his personal belongings, including his cellphone, preventing his parents from contacting him.
On the Saturday after the disappearance, Associated Press (AP) photographer Jacquelyn Martin took pictures of the missing Simmons as he sought warmth in a steam grate near the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Only one of the photos showed his face and was published in USA Today the following day as part of a story on the cold front that was affecting the country.
The photo was brought to the attention of Paul and Michelle Simmons, Nicholas’ parents, through a Facebook page that was purposefully set up to help locate their missing son. USA Today had contacted Martin via Twitter to inform her that the elder Simmons had recognized their son and was looking for him.
The happy ending: Nicholas Simmons was found by the Police on Sunday afternoon and was reunited with his father, older brother, and family friends later that evening.
The story of Nick Simmons is a testament to the power of photography and social media. Unknowingly, AP photographer Jacquelyn Martin became a hero when she took the photo which helped locate the missing young man. And without social media, it would have not been as easy to communicate with his parents to inform them of the published image of their son.
AP photographer Jacquelyn Martin shared her sentiments on what happened:
It’s really gratifying to see that a photograph can make a tangible difference in someone’s life. That’s a really amazing thing to have happened…I’m happy and touched that the photograph could help reunite this family.
I agree with Martin. So go ahead, take your camera wherever you go, tell your story, and share it.