"My friend calls him 'Mr. Ridiculously Photogenic Guy,'" a post on link-sharing site Reddit declared. It pointed out a photo taken during a recent race in South Carolina — a photo in which a young man was beaming, even as everyone around him seemed fatigued and struggling. The Internet was instantly charmed and fascinated.
The photo has been viewed over 1.3 million times at this point and Mr. Ridiculously Photogenic Guy has become the focal point of countless news stories. But so far, no one's managed to speak to this mysterious and handsome character — and not for lack of trying.
I spent the better part of Friday morning trying to track down Mr. Ridiculously Photogenic Guy, who is being referred to as Zeddie Little in most reports. In the process, I discovered that he generally goes by a different first name, spoke to people who've worked with him, browsed through his public Facebook posts, peeked at his Twitter account, scrolled through his Instagram photos, studied his LinkedIn page and learned as much about him as I could — without ever managing to reach him personally.
As disappointed as I am that Mr. Little didn't respond to any of my attempts to contact him, I am pleased to see that the Internet's fascination with him may be entirely justified — he really may be as nice as he is handsome.
Little is a 25-year-old New York City resident. He and his girlfriend, a young lady he'd met in South Carolina, relocated to the city in May of last year. Little is in marketing and advertising, but prior to jumping into that industry he worked as a sous chef for several years. His former co-workers described him as a "good employee" and a great guy. They teasingly referred to him by another nickname.
The photo which started it all was taken by Will King, who — according to the International Business Times' Nadine Deninno — is a 28-year-old systems analyst at the Medical University of South Carolina. King took several hundred photos during the 35th Annual Cooper River Bridge Run in South Carolina and posted them to his Flickr account. But one photo stood out, and King posted it onto Reddit.
Reddit users quickly "upvoted" the image until it was on the site's front page. As it tends to happen with pictures that go viral, by this point there were plenty of modified versions of King's photo — many of them with funny captions calling attention to Little's friendly demeanor.
Little isn't unaware of his fame. "What the? I'm officially famous," he joked in a post linking to Reddit, which was publicly visible on his Facebook page shortly before he hid his whole Facebook account. "I … I dunno. This is bizarre. Funny stuff." in a reply to his friends' excitement.
King remarked in a Reddit comment that he and Little exchanged messages. "He wants to lay low for now," he explained.
Everyone to whom I spoke about Little had kind words to say about him. Each person seemed to perk up at the mention of his name, as if those mere syllables provided the same fuzzy wuzzy feeling in friends that his photo, with that charming, easy smile, is now giving to countless strangers on the Internet.
Want more tech news, silly puns, or amusing links? You'll get plenty of all three if you keep up with Rosa Golijan, the writer of this post, by following her on Twitter, subscribing to her Facebook posts, or circling her on Google+.