When Jimmie Cox went face first into a pool of water to fix a broken line, he didn’t think much of it. But then a photo was posted on Facebook.
As is usually the case when something goes viral, that wasn’t Andrea Adams intention when she recently snapped a photo of a utility worker repairing a waterline near her home in north-central Texas and posted it to social media. She simply reacted to a unique photo opportunity: The worker, Jimmie Cox, was submerged up to his waist, reaching down into a few feet of water to attempt to clamp the broken line.
“Then I posted the photo to Facebook, and within two hours, people in Brazil were commenting,” Adams told WFAA-TV in Dallas. “I’ve shut down my Facebook, turned off my email. I had a call from a lawyer in Atlanta that wanted to use the photo.”
Cox ended up not being able to clamp the 1-inch pipe, and he and his colleagues at Acton Municipal Utility District had to cut the line and install a valve. For Cox, his headfirst plunge was just another day on the job.
“In this line of work, people do it a lot,” he said to WFAA-TV.
But he says he too has received some extra attention on social media because of the photo.
“Asking me, essentially, what the hell I was doing,” he says.
As different media outlets have picked up the story, many people are weighing in, including Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame. Most are praising Cox’s dedication, but a few online commenters have questioned the safety of Cox’s repair tactics. The photo instantly grabs viewers’ attention because of the perceived danger, but are there in fact any OSHA regulations being violated? There's no word yet on whether the agency is investigating.
What do you think? Is this a common practice as Cox says. Post your comments below.