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Alum’s Moment of Fame: The Story Behind the Photo

Have you seen the photo in the article linked above? Millions of people on at least two continents have seen this photo of nurse Katie Leonard (Meher School Class of 2000) handing a cup of hot tea to an 88-year-old woman stranded in her car on New Year’s Eve.

The photo was taken by Bay Area News Group photographer Jose Carlos Fajardo on Astrid Drive in Pleasant Hill. It appeared on the front page of the LA Times, in the San Jose Mercury News / East Bay Times, The Washington Post, on CNN – and was even published in India.

Katie explains that when she found Jose keeping the woman company, she paddled home and brought back some tea and blankets. Though it makes for a dramatic photo, the kayak, she says, “was entirely unnecessary. I just took it out for fun” after doing what she could to batten down her home against flooding on her street.

The woman, Katie reports, “is fine. Minutes after the photo was taken, her son arrived, and she got out of the car and walked with us to his car. She went to a New Year’s Eve party that night with her boyfriend. She’s just as thrilled about this fame as I am.”


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