For University of Texas senior Patrick Lu, it was the "photo op" of a lifetime. For Joel Bush and Jennifer Orr, it was magical moment that changed their lives. In an amazing stroke of serendipity, their worlds are linked forever - thanks to social media and the Internet Age.
On Wednesday night, on the lovely Capitol grounds in Austin, Texas, Bush got down on bended knee and asked Orr to marry him. They may have thought they were alone, but actually the cyber community was soon sharing their moment.
By chance, photographer Patrick Lu had been riding his bicycle on the Capitol grounds when he happened upon the couple from a distance. He grabbed his camera and captured the exact moment of Bush's proposal.
Lu previewed the photos on his camera and was pleased with the results. Despite the limited light, the exposure was perfect. He wanted to share the images with the couple, but they had already left the scene.
The photographer decided to post the images to Austin's Reddit with the question, "Did any of you propose at the [Austin] Capitol last night?" Reddit is a social news website where the registered users submit content and other users then vote the submission "up" or "down," a ranking which is used to determine its position on the site's pages. Within a short time, Lu's photo was the site's most popular post.
The post found its way to Bush only two days later and the groom-to-be tweeted his amazement and gratitude.
"WHAT THE WHAT!" Bush tweeted. "Thank You, Internet."
The story soon became an Internet sensation. It made the front-page story on Mashable.com Friday and was featured in the London Daily-Mail.
Bush says he and his fiancée got the best of both worlds, with a private moment shared by just the two of them, yet fantastic photos to cherish forever.
The couple told KXAN that they wanted to invite Lu to their wedding. Lu said he won’t be a photographer for the nuptuals, but is happy to attend as a guest.