‘Lawn­mower man’ toast of town

The Times (South Africa) - - NEWS - SUTHENTIRA GOVENDER — TimesLIVE

THE South African ex­pat who shot to fame af­ter a pic­ture of him ca­su­ally trim­ming his grass while a mas­sive tor­nado loomed be­hind him has be­come a Cana­dian town hero.

The pic­ture went vi­ral and turned The­u­nis Wes­sels into a global sen­sa­tion. It also earned him the nick­name “lawn­mower man”. Now he is the toast of his town.

Three Hills in Al­berta prov­ince hon­oured Wes­sels with his very own float in the town’s pa­rade at the week­end.

He broke the in­ter­net af­ter his wife Ce­cilia snapped a pic­ture of him mow­ing their back­yard in shorts and a T-shirt while a tor­nado thun­dered to­wards their area. The pic­ture‚ which set so­cial me­dia ablaze‚ turned the cou­ple — who left South Africa seven years ago — into overnight celebri­ties.

Ce­cilia said her hus­band had not been in im­me­di­ate dan­ger as the tor­nado was about 5km away. Wes­sels said he “had been keep­ing an eye on it”.

The story was picked up by the BBC‚ CBS and USA To­day.

Wes­sels was again in the spot­light when a Three Hills res­i­dent named “Mich” tweeted photos of him at the pa­rade. The tweet was viewed about 1.8 mil­lion times.

The pic­tures showed Wes­sels — dressed in his now-trade­mark shorts and T-shirt — aboard a float with his lawn­mower and a replica tor­nado be­hind him.

The side of the float was em­bla­zoned with the words “home of the lawn­mower man”‚ while the back of it read: “I’m keep­ing an eye on it.”

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