Jeffrey Bauman became the face of the Boston Marathon bombing: a 27-year-old man in a wheelchair being rushed away from the wreckage, his legs sheared by shrapnel.
Bauman is known as a big-hearted guy who plays guitar and works at Costco and had joined crowds near the finish line to cheer on his girlfriend.
He survived but lost both legs near the knee. And then he captured the world’s attention again when he emerged from the fog of surgery at a Boston hospital, according to a Bloomberg News report.
He asked for a pen and paper. He wrote about what he saw before the explosion. And his memories became important clues for investigators.
“Bag,” he wrote. “Saw the guy, looked right at me.”
Since April 15, Bauman has become an inspiration to a growing circle of friends and strangers.
“From a hospital bed, he was able to help stop these bad guys — that’s like superhero status,” said Andrew Lowe, a friend since their teenage years together at Chelmsford High School in Massachusetts.
Lowe said he messaged Bauman through Facebook a few days after the bombing, and his friend replied: They couldn’t take me out that easily.
His family is not yet speaking to reporters, but his father posted on Facebook Sunday: “He is a strong person indeed. I love him dearly and will help him get back to his old self.”
At Costco in Nashua, N.H., where Bauman worked in the deli, co-worker Julie Cabral said 40 or 50 employees gathered in the break room Tuesday for a video chat with Bauman.
“ ‘Oh, I’ll be there in 20 minutes,’ ” Cabral recalled him joking.