Andrea Adams never expected anything extraordinary to happen when she called for a repairman.
A pipe had burst outside of her Texas residence, covering her front lawn with a thin brown sludge that was both unseemly and unsanitary. She called the Acton Municipal Utility District to fix it. The responder was 23-year-old repairman Jimmie Cox.
After a few minutes of fiddling, Cox realized it wouldn’t be an easy job. “The hole was about five and a half foot deep,” he explained, referring to the mini-swamp that had formed outside Adams’ residence. Regular clampers and valves weren’t enough to stop the leak that was buried five feet down.
So Cox stuck his entire upper half, including his head, into the sludge. Adams happened to come out of her house at this time, and she was both shocked and impressed by Cox’s dedication to duty.
She snapped a photo and posted it on Facebook right away. “Seriously?” her post asked. “Acton Municipal Utility District employees are dedicated. #employeeofthemonth” Then the photo went viral. “Within two hours, people in Brazil were commenting,” Adams said.
The attention didn’t stop there, either. After garnering more than 8,000 likes, she faced a deluge of comments, emails and even phone calls about the image. People wanted to know the repairman’s name.
A lawyer wanted to use the photo for his website. Adams was amazed at the viral sensation she’d caused, but as for Cox, he didn’t understand the fuss. He saw a leaky pipe and fixed it. It required him to submerge his head, but that was nothing out of the ordinary.
“In this line of work, people do it a lot,” he explained.