Did Jersey photographer's video of Clinton stumble change course of history?

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Hillary Clinton arrives for ceremonies to mark the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks at the National 9/11 Memorial in New York.

In the days after Donald Trump's stunning presidential win over Hillary Clinton, Zdenek Gazda has been bombarded by phone calls and texts, telling him he changed the election.

He doesn't disagree with them.

Gazda is a freelance photographer from New Jersey who filmed the video of Clinton after she became ill and stumbled at a campaign event two months ago.

"People say to me that it showed she's not strong," Gazda said on Friday. "If I wasn't there, nobody would have known what happened....People need to know the truth."

Some believe the video raised questions about whether Clinton was healthy enough to serve in the White House.

Gazda, 50, said he has taken thousands of photos and videos in his career, but the feedback from his encounter with Clinton still stuns him.

"Nothing close to it," he said.

A version of his video has been viewed more than two million times on YouTube.

Gazda used some old-school journalism instincts and was the only person near Clinton when she wobbled and appeared to collapse Sept. 11 after visiting a 9/11 memorial ceremony in New York City.

Gazda slept in his car near the site where he filmed her, but first went into the memorial ceremony to pay his respects. He was a firefighter in his homeland, the Czech Republic, before moving to New Jersey in 1993, so he has a special place in his heart for the people who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, he said.

The video "makes me proud," said Gazda, adding he would have posted it no matter which candidate fell because it was "part of history."

Gazda, who does lots of his work at NHL home games played by the Flyers and New Jersey Devils, said he saw police wandering in an area and figured that is where Clinton would be headed after she left the ceremony.

He was right.

Despite not having a press credential and not going through any security, Gazda estimates he got to within 15 feet of Clinton as she was about to get into a black van. He took several photos with his phone, then decided he would turn on his video.

By chance, Clinton stumbled and was caught by aides as Gazda had his video running.

Gazda was the only photographer on the scene, and he put his video on Twitter — and was immediately besieged by news organizations that wanted to purchase it.

In the next 24 hours, he said he received 26,000 voice messages on his phone.

Gazda, who lives in Verona, said people have told him he "changed history" because after the video went viral, Clinton's officials announced she was suffering from a bout of pneumonia that was diagnosed two days earlier.

Clinton's campaign initially said Clinton left the 15th annual observance at Ground Zero because she felt "overheated."

Gazda, who had made more than $100,000 for his famous 20-second clip, said after he turned off his video, said he saw Clinton shaking inside the van.

He admitted he wasn't sure what his video had captured until he looked at it. "I was shocked at what I saw," Gazda said. 

scarchidi@phillynews.com