After devastating tornadoes wrought havoc in several states in December 2021, social media posts about a man named Jim Finch helping Mayfield, Kentucky residents (among the hardest hit) spread virally.
A Facebook post with a still image read:
This man drove half an hour with a grill and a truckload of food and parked right in the middle of #Mayfield, Kentucky. “I know they don’t have electricity. No restaurants. No running water. I just figured I would do what I could do. So I showed up with some food and some water.”
This man’s name is Jim Finch. Be like Jim Finch.
A reverse image search returned no results for the image, which was low-resolution and didn’t look like a news photograph. Google Trends data indicated a spike in search interest for “Jim Finch Mayfield” beginning December 13 2021 (the date of the post).
An iteration also appeared on Reddit’s r/nextfuckinglevel on December 14 2021:
A search for “Jim Finch Mayfield” returned additional content from Twitter, including a tweet by user Rex Chapman with some identical wording. Chapman embedded a video tweeted by journalist Victor Ordoñez on December 12 2021:
“I know they don’t have electricity. No restaurants. No running water. I just figured I would do what I could do. So I showed up with some food and some water.”
This man’s name is Jim Finch. Be like Jim Finch. https://t.co/58BEKvmZm6
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) December 13, 2021
Following Ordoñez’s video, news outlets picked up on Finch’s story. Most simply reiterated Ordoñez’s reporting; in threaded tweets, he added:
This was the scene right before Jim Finch, the man in the video, set up his grill. There was later Church service in that parking lot across from him.
Jim wore a smile the whole morning, we laugh when I asked if he had a restaurant. He shook his head, “it just needed to be done,” he said.
In December 2021, a viral Facebook post reiterated the content of Rex Chapman’s tweet about a man named Jim Finch bringing a barbecue to Mayfield, Kentucky on December 12 2021. Chapman’s tweet included the original video and reporting by Ordoñez, and the Facebook post used a still from that video.