The couple whose passionate kiss was captured in a now-iconic photograph of the Vancouver hockey riots are an Australian and Canadian who have been dating for several months.
The photo shows Scott Jones and Alex Thomas in a fervent embrace on the street between a police line and an officer in full riot gear. Taken by Rich Lam for Getty Images, the picture has been splashed all over the Internet and in media outlets around the world.
“It’s crazy how it’s gone global and everything,” Mr. Jones told The Globe and Mail.
Mr. Jones, 29, said he first learned that the image was getting international attention when a friend sent him a link to an article on Facebook on Thursday.
“I thought it was funny,” he said. “I thought it was hilarious that we got on the news.”
After watching the Stanley Cup final, the couple got mired in the violence that swept through downtown Vancouver.
Caught between police and rioters, Ms. Thomas was knocked to the ground by an officer’s riot shield as police charged forward, he told CBC News.
“They started beating us with the shields, like trying to get us to move,” he said. “We weren’t being aggressive towards [police]or anything like that. But eventually they passed over us. And that’s when we were on the ground. She was a bit hysterical afterwards, obviously, and I was just trying to calm her down.”
“They were literally charging at us and we tried to run away,” he said.
Ms. Thomas, for her part, was a little disoriented.
“Tripped up? I’m not sure. I was starting to get really frightened because I’d never experienced anything like that before, and it’s really scary,” she said in the CBC interview. “I was upset, and I fell down, and didn’t really know exactly what was happening.”
Mr. Jones immediately tried to comfort her and gave her a kiss. His mother, Megan Jones, wasn’t much surprised by the action.
“I just thought, yep, that would be Scott because he’s a bit of a dreamer and he wouldn’t have even known there was a riot going on around him, quite possibly,” Ms. Jones said with a laugh from her home outside Perth in western Australia.
The clash left Ms. Thomas with minor scrapes and bruises, she said. “Obviously, it must have been a pretty traumatic thing to be caught up in the middle of it all. It would have been terrible.”
When Ms. Jones first saw the photo on her homepage, www.ninemsn.com, early Friday, she initially didn’t realize it was of her son. After one of her daughters recognized him, she took a second look.
“She just said, ‘Mom, you do realize that is Scott.’ And I said, ‘Oh, I better go back and have another look at it.’ And sure enough, that was my boy.”
The global interest in the picture has “overwhelmed” Mr. Jones and Ms. Thomas, his mother said.
“He sort of said, ‘Oh, sweet, they’ve got a photo,’” Ms. Jones said. “But now that it’s become bigger than Ben-Hur, well, I don’t quite know what he’s going to make of it.”
An avid traveller and aspiring stand-up comedian, Mr. Jones has been in Canada on a 12-month work visa since last fall and has worked in the hospitality industry in Vancouver. He and Ms. Thomas are going on a trip to California soon and plan to move to Australia later this summer.
“Scott only told me a month or so ago that when he was due to come home in a few months that he was bringing home the best souvenir from Canada ever – he was going to bring home Alex. So that’s pretty exciting,” Ms. Jones said. “And he said if we all behave, we might get to meet her. It looks like it’s not us that’s doing the misbehaving, though.”