Devastated over the death of her boyfriend in the Oakland fire, Saya Tomioka went looking for a reminder of their love: a photo of the couple in happier times, locked in a kiss in Times Square. There was one problem: Tomioka didn't have the picture, and she had no idea who took it, ABC News reports. (The photographer had showed her the image on his camera after snapping it that night.) So against some pretty high odds, the Los Angeles woman took to Facebook, hoping it could help her find this last link to Griffin Madden, 23. Their kiss was planted firmly in her memory. "This morning I remembered the first time I went to Times Square, June 16 of 2015," she wrote in her plea on Dec. 4. "I cried, and we kissed. Some random photographer captured this very moment, this very kiss." She asked her friends to share her appeal to find the image.
The post was shared hundreds of times, notes NBC Bay Area, and several people alerted Arken Avan, a Queens photographer who photographs couples around New York City. "I actually remember this moment," he tells ABC News. "Young lady was holding pretzel in her hand and young man had lipstick on his cheek." But that didn't mean finding the elusive snap was going to be easy. Avan combed through his hard drives and more than 2,000 images. "I found the photo. I was shocked," he says. "I couldn’t believe it. I was happy, but at the same time I was very sad." Avan wrote on his Facebook page that the story was "a very good lesson for me and other people to appreciate and remember every day and every moment with people we love." A joyful Tomioka told her friends, "Miracles happen, Saya." (One woman is hoping Facebook can help find her long-lost triplets.)