When Cheryl Hanbury stepped outside her home the morning after Hurricane Irma swept through her Bradenton, Florida, neighborhood, she expected to see a few of her neighbors out surveying the damage, too, and cleaning up debris. What she did not expect to see was an actual superhero at work.
But that's exactly what she spotted when a man in a red and blue outfit using a chainsaw to cut a tree that had fallen across her road caught her attention. "I thought, OMG! Spider-man!" she told TODAY Parents. "I was shocked. I couldn't believe what I was seeing."
Hanbury called her family outside to see too, and her husband Alan was able to snap two pictures of the mysterious good Samaritan. "Spider-Man worked the tree, then swung off and jumped in his little black pickup with a friend and flew off!" said Hanbury. "I do not know why he was dressed as Spider-Man, nor do I know the name or identity of the masked man."
Hanbury's own two daughters, Ciara, 22, and Skye, 21, are grown, and most of the neighborhood evacuated before the storm, so unfortunately, no children were around to witness the crusader in action. However, Hanbury said he was a welcome surprise and provided a laugh that lifted the spirits of those who endured the scary storm.
"It was a silver lining after waiting a long week for the hurricane to arrive," she said. "People were terrified and exhausted."
Thankfully, the hurricane wasn't as bad as it was predicted for Hanbury's area. "We still have lots of people without power, and my neighbors' generators are running at the moment. But for the most part, we just have high numbers of trees and power lines down with much debris, but everyone is safe!" she said.
Now that her photos are going viral, Hanbury hopes Spider-Man knows he is cheering the spirits of people in Bradenton and around the world. "To Spider-Man, I would like to say, 'Thank you!'" she said. "I’m glad we have real-life heroes."