Social media is a useful tool to connect with virtually anyone and with the help of this powerful platform, a grieving young woman who lost a beloved was able to find what she was looking for.
Saya Tomioka posted a Facebook appeal on December 4 in order to find a very specific and special photo of her with her boyfriend, Griffin Madden, a victim of the Oakland warehouse fire.
Together with her plea, Saya shared the story behind the photo she is so eager to find. She said that on June 16 of last year, Griffin and her just finished watching The Book of Mormon on Broadway when a photographer was able to capture the magical and candid moment of a kiss she shared with her boyfriend. The random photographer showed them the picture but she was unable to get his name.
“I remember tears swelling my eyes because the city was so beautiful and amidst all the lights, I got to look at the brightest light of all, my sweetie. I cried, and we kissed,” Saya emotionally recalled the memory. “I’ve always longed to find this particular photograph and thank the photographer. Friends, possibly with your help, I can be reunited with this photograph.”
The post was shared over 300 times and eventually found its way to a New York-based photographer named Arken Avan. Although he wasn’t sure if he was the person Saya was looking for, he decided to search his archive full of around 200,000 photos.
“I decided to pull out my archive, and wasn’t sure if that [photographer] was me, and if I actually have this photograph, ‘cause it was more than a year ago and it’s more than 200,000 pictures in my street archive,” Arkan said.
In the end, he found the photo that Saya was looking for and posted the image on Instagram with a caption that said, “For a memory of Griffin Madden, who lost his life in Oakland fire.”
And so the story reminds you that sometimes, any kind of random act can lead to something very significant.