We’ve all seen the viral photo of “Spiderman” shaking President Uchtdorf’s hand at City Creek Mall. But very few people actually know how life changing that moment was for the man underneath the costume.
So here is the story shared with LDS S.M.I.L.E. by Paul Lloyd, who was the man wearing that costume.
“I was a 27 year old army veteran who was just medically retired due to the fear and confusion of PTSD. I was in such a dark place that I was ready to leave the Church and give up on God until the day when my daughter asked for a daddy/daughter date with Spiderman. I put on the suit and went on the ‘date’ for the benefit of my daughter who was sad to see me struggling. We had to be driven around by my sister (smiling in the picture) because it was difficult for me to see out of the mask.
I was trapped in a superficial superhero costume scared of what the future held when all I wanted to do was be alone and sleep. We spent over 2 hours walking around downtown Salt Lake City on our “date” and ended up at the City Creek Mall where President Uchtdorf was having a casual lunch with his family. Although I didn’t want to interrupt or disturb him I had a strong impression to shake his hand and I took a leap of faith to do so.
So here I was, in a silly superhero costume shaking the hand of an Apostle of the Lord. The power of a selfless act and the love of the Spirit gave me the peace I was longing for at that moment. It was a large light in an abyss of fear and confusion. Though it was minuscule and simple, it was personal revelation to me and it changed my life for eternity.
Before I put on that costume I was about to leave the church and give up on God. 14 months after that handshake I went to the Temple for the first time and received my Endowment and I am humbled by the tender mercies of the Lord, the real Superhero.”