The sun was setting on Clearwater Beach when Lori Hayes spotted the perfect photo. A young couple silhouetted by the sunset had their arms wrapped around each other just moments after proposing marriage.
But before Hayes could show them the photograph she took, the couple were gone.
So she took to social media, posting to Twitter asking if anyone knew who was there on North Clearwater Beach near the Palm Pavilion restaurant around 8 p.m. on Friday. It didn't take long for television news to pick up the story.
"I just thought to myself, 'I have their moment in my hands and all I want to do is give it to them,'" Hayes said. "So I reached out to the affiliate station and asked them to share it and they did."
Witnessed a young couple getting engaged last night. Took these photos right after she said "Yes!". Does anyone know of an engagement that took place on #ClearwaterBeach, Friday Jun 29th at about 8:00 pm in front of the Palm Pavilion? pic.twitter.com/atbdcLfOOk— Lori Hayes (@LoriHayes19) June 30, 2018
Witnessed a young couple getting engaged last night. Took these photos right after she said "Yes!". Does anyone know of an engagement that took place on #ClearwaterBeach, Friday Jun 29th at about 8:00 pm in front of the Palm Pavilion? pic.twitter.com/atbdcLfOOk
The post was shared and re-posted, people offered best wishes and support — then a friend of Brooke Houseworth tagged her in the comments on the story.
Houseworth and her new fiance Bryan Parker found the photo on WFLA News Channel 8's Facebook page . They reached out to the station to get in contact with the photographer.
"It was such a gift to have that moment, which was so incredibly special to us, be captured by someone who thought that it was as beautiful as we did," Houseworth said. "It's a kind of a beautiful, romantic start to the next chapter in our relationship."
Houseworth said the couple went to have a picnic up the beach after the proposal so they could quietly take in the moment. Parker had invited both their families to join them on the beach for dinner.
Unexpectedly, Parker and Houseworth now have a token of that evening as well as a new friend in photographer Hayes.
"When I spoke with Lori, she had said that her husband had proposed to her on the same beach, which I thought was incredible," Houseworth said. "She told me that there must be magic in that sand."
Hayes said she and her husband have been married for 25 years. The day she took the photo, Hayes was already at the beach to take engagement photos of some family friends.
"Yes, my husband proposed to me not far from where they were," Hayes said. "That's one magical spot out there."