‘Lawnmower man’ toast of town
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.”