UPDATE: AP has published an article following up with the Simmons family, it’s the first time they’ve been quoted directly about their ordeal since after Nick returned home. My best to the Simmons family.
I never imagined when I made this picture in DC this past Saturday that it would help reunite a missing Nicholas Simmons, 20, of Greece, N.Y., with his family who were desperately searching for him after he disappeared New Year’s Day. His family asks for privacy at this time while Nick’s condition improves. The odds of this chance encounter resulting in a reunion are mind boggling. Thanks to all the people who have reached out about this story, to all the families whose love and perseverance overcomes the odds, and to the outreach workers who help the homeless every single day. My best to Nick and the Simmons family. Please remember those who are still on the streets who need our help.
There’s been quite a lot of interest in this remarkable story. Here are a few links to articles and interviews with me about the photograph and outcome:
Associated Press article with photographs from Saturday’s chance encounter.
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
My interview with CBS This Morning
My interview with WJLA in DC
My Dad was quoted in the Syracuse paper.
Good quotes from the family in this Daily MailOnline piece.
The story even made it to China.
And an important perspective that I agree with: from Minnesota Public Radio.
A note about all the people involved that were part of this remarkable connection: AP Photo Editor Jon Elswick suggested a cold weather feature to me, perhaps involving the homeless. I photographed Nick by chance in DC. USA Today Photo Editor Christopher Powers later selected the image I had made of Nick from all the cold weather wire features to accompany their article about the weather. A USA Today insert was put into the local Rochester paper. The family was shown the newspaper photograph and believed it to be their Nick and contacted USA Today Reporter Nicole DiBlasio who rapidly put me in touch with the frantic family. The Simmons family and friends rallied to the scene from afar. The Greece, NY and DC Metro Police Departments coordinated to locate Nick where I had last seen him, taking him to a hospital where he was reunited with his father who drove all day desperate at a chance to find his son. Without any of these people involved the reunion may never have happened. Thanks to all for the roles they each played in making this story have a happy ending.