Boston's blizzard has spawned an instant celebrity, and for a pretty good reason: Bartender Chris Laudani took it upon himself Tuesday afternoon to clear off the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Except he did so anonymously, at least at first. Philip Hillman snapped a photo of the gesture-in-progress from a window at the Charlesmark Hotel and posted it online, helping set off a city-wide hunt for the "Boston Shoveler," reports Mashable. (Even the police got involved.) Boston Magazine solved the mystery this afternoon, identifying Laudani, who works at the Back Bay Social Club. “I only did it to send a message," Laudani tells the magazine. "I love the Boston Marathon and everything it stands for—the finish line doesn’t deserve to be covered in snow.”
Laudani is winning praise from all over of the "Boston Strong" variety, though he'd like people to ease off on the "hero" descriptions. ABC News reports that after his bartending shift ended Tuesday, Laudani joined co-workers clearing off the entrance to the bar where they work. Then he moved on to the finish line, returned his shovel to the bar, and headed home unaware of what he had just set off. Laudani ran the marathon officially in 2011 and as a "bandit" in other years and calls the finish line his "favorite place" in Boston. Now, race sponsor Adidas is offering him entry to this year's race, reports ESPN. Meanwhile, more photos have surfaced showing an apparent second shoveler, and Boston sleuths are on the case.