California’s Laguna Beach has plenty of secret coves and beautiful lookouts.
But one couple took some pictures that they never thought they would look back at much – but they would end up for thousands of prying eyes to see on Facebook.
A Romantic Walk
They both walked side by side as they watched the foam of the tide kiss the sand. But only a few more steps and they would be scratching their heads.
Alex looked over at what he assumed was a rock, but once he got closer it was something else entirely.
A Tantalizing Mystery
He had found an old Canon camera. It had seen its fair share of the ocean and must have washed up. But he had no idea what he had found.
Trying to see what was on the camera would be a very difficult process. But when he finally saw it, he couldn’t believe it.
Passing It On
She knew that it would be a risk. She wasn’t even sure if the camera’s photos had survived. But her brother, Nick could definitely help.
He said it would be a hard job when he saw the soggy camera. But she needed to know what was going on. Had someone accidentally lost this camera? Or had they thrown it out? The photos would tell them.
Nick knew his work would be cut out for him, he got all of the tools he needed including pliers, screwdrivers, and tweezers. But when he got inside the camera he was sad that it was rusted too badly to work again.
With the corroded battery and sorry state of the camera, he knew it would be hard, but he wanted to try.
He had no idea if the images would have even been alright. If the memory of the camera was damaged beyond repair then it wouldn’t be able to be salvaged.
So when he looked inside the SD slot he couldn’t believe it. Was the SD card still inside?
He saw the blue end of the SD card, could it still have been okay? He slowly and carefully took it out with his tweezers. He was sure to handle it with care.
He just didn’t want to pull too hard, it would be a tragedy if the card snapped now after being preserved for so long.
When he finally got the SD card out he knew half of his labor was over. It looked intact, he gave it a clean and then put it into his computer to see if it would work.
He turned on his computer and just hoped beyond hope that it would work. He imagined of all the things that could have been on this camera.
Recovering The Photographs
The SD reader made a whirring noise as it tried to read the memory card. Then, suddenly, the images began to load and Nick couldn’t believe his eyes.
All in all, there were 500 photographs on the SD card, and when Nick flicked through them he knew he had to put them on Facebook. He had to let everyone know what he had found.
Nick uploaded some of the photos to his Facebook account with the caption: “This Canon T5 w/ 75-300mm telephoto lens drank too much at this wedding in Laguna Beach and it took a nap in the ocean for a few months.”
“500 photos were recovered from the SD card including this wedding that was apparently held on May 6, 2017 at Woods Cove, Laguna Beach, CA.”
e asked everyone to share the photos of the bride and groom, and sure enough, his feed exploded. Everyone wanted answers.
The Burning Question
“Is there a photo right before the camera went into the ocean? I need to know the story behind the ocean camera!” one commenter wrote. And just 50 comments later, everybody following the post would finally get their answer.
Meanwhile, Nick contacted Laguna’s city hall to see if there was documentation of the couple’s wedding that day, but they refused to release the information.
Someone Comes Forward
Then, a woman named Taylor Ochoa recognized the groom and blew the case open wide.
“Oh my gosh! This is the groom’s sister’s camera + photos. I’ll pass this post along to the bride. YAY! I love social media,” she wrote. But now that the couple was identified, they still had some explaining to do.
Heather and Kole Powell had decided that it was finally time to tie the knot. But they didn’t want a big, expensive ceremony and all the politics that go with it — so they decided to elope.
With only immediate family to witness their nuptials, they had a small beachside wedding at Laguna Beach on May 7th, 2017. Unfortunately for the couple, luck wasn’t on their side that day.
A Big Mistake
In a stroke of bad luck, the weekend they had chosen for the wedding had been stormy and unpleasant. The waves grew choppier and choppier by the minute as the couple said their vows in front of a select few of their closest loved ones.
After the ceremony, everyone placed their purses and valuables on a low sea wall – including Kole’s sister, who was responsible for taking photographs that day.
A Huge Wave
Suddenly, an enormous wave rolled up the shoreline, sweeping the camera and handbags with it as it went. The couple also lost their cellphones to the sea, but what everyone was most concerned about was the camera. It contained priceless memories – and they’d never be able to get them back.
The bride and groom rushed into the waves to try to retrieve the camera, to no avail.
“Kole’s mom looked over and saw that everything was gone,” Heather Powell told ABC News. “We were pretty shocked.”
“It was a sour mood kind of but we didn’t want it to ruin the entire day,” she added. “We tried to look at it as a positive, just another rough patch to get through and a sign that everything will be OK.”
The Power Of Social Media
Three months after the wedding, Heather was delighted when she got a call. “I just was so shocked,” Heather said. “I ran over to my husband and said, ‘Oh my gosh, someone found our camera.’”
The power of social media had reunited the couple with their priceless memories – but how could they ever thank Nick?
An Eagerly Awaited Update
Shortly after Heather contacted him, Nick updated his Facebook post: “UPDATE: I am happy to announce that the newlyweds have been found! I am filled with gratitude for all the people who shared this post and helped to reunite the camera and its photos with their owners.”
He transferred the priceless memories onto a DVD and shipped them to the couple, who were ecstatic.
Grateful Beyond Words
“We tried to convince him to let us pay the shipping and he wouldn’t,” Heather said in an interview.
“We told [Nick and Maria] that if we make it out to California again we’re going to buy them dinner and meet them to thank them… both my husband and I are just blown away by their kindness. There aren’t enough words …”
Since then, Nick’s post has gone viral, with over 1000 likes and shares. People couldn’t get enough of the heartwarming story.
Susan Richards Doern, Heather’s mother, had this to say: “I am the mother of the bride. Heather called her dad and I early this morning to share this story. Since then, I have read every one of your comments (so far), and I have cried all the way through them! Thank all of you so much, and especially Nick!!! This is the kind of story that restores my faith in humanity. As I said that day (May 6th), the real loss wasn’t the camera, the phones, the purse, it was the loss of the pictures that we mourned the most. I am totally overcome with emotion and gratitude!!”