Bradley Cooper got a chance to be a fan and shake the hand of someone he admires on Friday when he paid a surprise visit to Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman Jr.
Bauman is recuperating in Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital after having both legs amputated below the knee. The 27-year-old became a symbol of last week’s devastation when a dramatic AP photo of him being rushed from the bomb site was featured in news outlets around the world.
Bauman was visiting with New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman when Cooper stopped by his hospital room. The men posed for a photo together, which Edelman later tweeted with the comment “[Bauman] is looking great and is a true inspiration. #strong.”
The Patriots star told People.com that he and Bauman talked football, adding “he actually thew me that ball.” He said that Cooper “showed up out of the blue” halfway through his meeting with Bauman.
Cooper, currently in Boston shooting the film American Hustle with his Silver Linings Playbook director David O. Russell, was active elsewhere in the wake of the bombing, attending the interfaith memorial led in part by Barack Obama.
Somehow, the notion that both celebrity drop-ins at the hospital were unexpected and happened simultaneously makes this story that much more of a touching footnote to a much larger—and obviously very tragic—event. Bauman couldn’t help but be cast as an emotional rallying point, a face of the victims of the Marathon bombing. The fact that two celebrities reacted to that and sought him out shows just how affecting a face he is.
One can only assume that from Cooper’s viewpoint, getting the chance to wish this man well and bolster his spirits, while gaining some perspective and inspiration for himself, must be an especially important benefit of his job.