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Braving The Storm: Man "Keeps An Eye" On Tornado, Wins Admiration

Updated on June 7, 2017

The Set Up

It's not everyone who feels compelled to tackle a to-do list while a major storm system is brewing, but then, Theunis Wessels has been described as something of an extraordinary man.

A resident of Three Hills, Alberta, Wessels was merely trying to knock another item off his list of things to do for the day when his wife took the now-viral shot. Hailed as anything from a representation of just how chill Canadians are to a sequel to the 1980s horror flick The Lawnmower Man, Wessels likely did not anticipate the furor that has developed surrounding the image his wife took.

In fact, his wife Cecilia did not even know her husband was undertaking yardwork while the tornado was looming several kilometers away. It was her nine-year-old that roused her from her nap because was concerned that her father was outside during a tornado, and while Wessels came back in after his lawn mowing mission was accomplished, he did make his daughter somewhat nervous in the process.

CBC News reports that the girl told her mother that Theunis wouldn't come inside although there was something that seemed like a tornado going on. Unbelievably, there was no one hurt during the tornado, and damage was surprisingly minimal, considering several residents of the area said that they felt they'd never seen anything like the images at any point in their lives.

"At first I thought there was a fire because it looked like a whole bunch of smoke.…" said resident Trina Luoma. "It started in the fields, and the dirt was just getting taken up, and we watched it get bigger and bigger and go across the highway. I know they can be dangerous, but it was beautiful at the same time."

Clare Stankievech said she witnessed the tornado actually touching down near her Three Hills farm and while no one - human or animal - was injured, she was still shaken.

"I've never seen anything like that before," she said. "We have vicious thunderstorms that go through, but when I looked up from my yard and saw that, it put a new scare into a person. It's different than anything I'd ever seen."

So why did Theunis Wessels decide to brave the storm?

An Image To Inspire 1,000 Memes


Get 'Er Done

For his part, Theunis Wessels said he was actually quite taken by the storm, having never seen one previously.

"We're originally from South Africa and this is the first time we've ever seen a tornado," he said. "I was watching all the time to see what it was going to do."

Wessels said he'd seen documentaries on storm chasers. While Wessels certainly did not expect the furor he got from this lawn mowing incident, he did admit later that, from the image, he could see why some people were concerned for his welfare.

While one could certainly appreciate Wessels' fascination with tornados, given his lack of experience with them, the internet has naturally exploded with a world of memes attesting to Wessel's unflappability.

"Tornado = ISP's, tests, essays, life falling apart," tweeted user @angkorcz. "Dude mowing lawn= me procrastinating like 'nah fam I still got time, we good'."

"This is the level of unpressed chill I wish to achieve in life," Twitter user @LaStarGotNext noted. "Like that tornado can #missme with that mess & stress.

The Original Shot


"Cool Picture, But You're An Idiot"


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