SEATTLE -- A British Columbia newspaper has tracked down a Canadian man who got a rude welcome to Seattle Tuesday when a group of destructive May Day protestors smashed his car windows out.
The man, who was known only as Sam, was parked on Sixth Avenue near Niketown when Tuesday's violence erupted.
"My family came down for a holiday, welcome to the States!" Sam told KOMO News in the midst of the melee.
Soon after we made Sam’s comments public the folks at the Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau contacted us to say they wanted to find Sam and invite him to return to the Emerald City on their dime.
Social Media helps solve the mystery
KOMO 4 News Reporter Lindsay Cohen took to Twitter with hashtag #FindSam.
Other Twitter users responded and Canadian reporters went into action tracking Sam down.
CTV in B.C. confirmed Sam is Samuel Lee, a Vancouver pastor with Lighthouse Ministries.
Lee told The Province newspaper he was unaware of the attention his story was receiving.
“I didn’t know any of this was happening,” Lee told The Province when a reporter contacted him.
Seattle extends Sam an apology
Seattle's Convention and Visitors Bureau has now contacted Lee and offered him that return trip to Seattle.
“He was very appreciative that we had extended the offer and mentioned that Seattle was a favorite spot and that he would certainly want to consider a trip in the future,” said David Blandford with the SCVB.
Blandford said they told Lee they're willing to pay for transportation back to Seattle, hotel stay, sightseeing and even dining for his entire family.
“He seemed to understand this was an anomaly and that he was caught in it at the wrong place and wrong time,” said Blandford.
But Lee also told Blandford that he needed a few days to consider the offer.
Not everyone is thrilled with all of this
As Lee stood on the street Tuesday after seeing the damage to his car he told us the non-violent protestors were rude, mocking him and taking photos of his damaged car.
"I don't know why people want pictures of my car. I don't know why they have to mouth off to me and tell me to go back to Canada, you hoser," he said.
After reading those original quotes, Jake Ricker called KOMO Newsradio to say he and his friend were the ones to yell at Lee. But he says it was because Lee had accused the two of them of being the ones who damaged his car. Ricker says he is a bike messenger and was only standing nearby watching the events unfold.
“He gets in my face and he starts yelling,” said Ricker.
In response, Ricker said he offered an apology and clarification.
“Sorry that happened to your car, but I had nothing to do with that,” Ricker said he told Lee.
Ultimately Ricker said Lee wouldn’t listen, continued to yell and that’s when his friend called the man a hoser and told him to go back to Canada.
Ricker said he doesn’t think Seattle's Convention and Visitors Bureau should be giving Lee a "free vacation."
“This is insane,” said Ricker.