Facebook reported today that the fan page of U.S. Airways pilot Captain C.B. "Sully" Sullenberger III is today growing at a rate of more than 1,000 new fans per minute -- nearing 190,000 fans as of this writing. As of this time yesterday, the site only had 30,000 fans, according to Facebook. Capt. Sullenberger has received a tremendous outpouring of support, justifiably lauded as a hero, after landing U.S. Airways flight 1549 in the Hudson River thereby protecting his passengers and folks on the ground in Manhattan.
One of the comments on the page says it all:
For the first time in years, we have a true hero. You did an amazing job Captain!
While I'm certain Capt. Sullenberger, U.S. Airways and the 150 passengers of the flight would've preferred not to have been involved in this situation at all, his efforts came at a time when Americans really need to believe the heroes exist.
The page currently has almost 10,000 wall posts, the majority of which are thoughts of gratitude and appreciation for Capt. Sullenberger and his crew. It appears, however, that the group moderators have had to control some social network opportunitists who have tried to take advantage of the fan club to make a profit. According to the group intro:
NOTE - for those of you that are posting t-shirts, candles, etc. for sale - WE WILL TAKE THEM DOWN unless you give all proceeds to charity. Not looking to make this a marketplace.
I've written in the past about how awful it is to be an opportunist in the face of crisis, so good for the moderators for keeping a close eye on the fan page and ensuring this resource stays a tribute to a great man.
Will "Sully" make an appearance in the group? Time will tell. Perhaps after the FAA finishes its investigation he can thank his fans personally.