Gina Florio
December 13, 2016 12:03 pm
Saya Tomioka / Facebook

On December 2nd, a fire broke out in an Oakland warehouse called Ghost Ship. It killed 36 people, including Griffin Madden. Griffin’s girlfriend, Saya Tomioka, devastated by his death, sent out a plea on Facebook two days later, asking anyone and everyone to help her find a special moment she and Griffin shared a year and a half earlier in New York City.

On June 16th, 2015, Griffin and Saya were in Times Square to see The Book of Mormon. They shared a precious kiss, which an anonymous photographer captured. He showed the happy couple the picture, but they never exchanged information, so they never got a copy of it. Saya wanted to track down the picture, so she got online and requested a “Facebook miracle” — and that’s precisely what she got.

People were moved by her vulnerability as she asked to be “reunited with this photograph.”

“I don’t even know if it’s possible, but please share this status if you think it is. I need some light right now…. I need a reminder of the brightest light of all — love.”

Within a few days, after hundreds of people shared the photo and put their heads together, the identity of the photographer was revealed: Arken Avan, who regularly captures tender moments on the streets of New York City. He sifted through an archive of more than 200,000 to find the photo of Griffin and Saya, and then posted it on his Instagram.

Our faith in humanity is restored.

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