Wednesday, July 1, 2015

An Eiffel Tower Proposal

Have you ever had one of those moments where your gut says to do something and you hesitate for just a split second and then decide nah I better not. You wrestle with it in your head for a second longer and  then decide to just go for it. Gut instinct. Or maybe it's really because thats what you would have wanted done for you if the shoe were on the other foot.  I've had those moments countless times, but the most recent was while I was on vacation in Paris and I was at the top of the Eiffel Tower.
It was the second time during the week that we had gone up to the second viewing deck of the tower. At the beginning of the week our first time ever to France, I had booked us a tour that had us cruising down the Seine River and followed by skip the line tickets to the second viewing deck on the tower. If we wanted to go up to the top additional tickets needed to be purchased on the deck before riding the elevators up to the top. We learned the hard way that the ticket booth and elevators close up much earlier than the lower viewing decks do and we missed our chance.

So here it was Sunday night around 9:45pm on June 21st and the sun was just beginning to set. We were back again determined to make it to the top of the tower before going home first thing the following morning.  We had our tickets and had been waiting in line for some time when I mentioned to Jeff that I was going to need to use the restroom when we got up there.  A helpful fellow line waiter mentioned that there were no restrooms at the top of the tower. They also mentioned that there would undoubtedly be a line to get on the elevators to come back down. If I didn't want to have an emergency on my hands I was going to have to figure out how to climb through the maze of bars and nylon straps forming the line that was crammed with hundreds of people.  The observation decks were also full and getting though all of the people to find my way to the bathroom was no joke!

I raced to the restrooms only to find that there was yet another line there to go in.  By the time the emergency was averted I had a new potential emergency on my hands. How could I possibly make it back through all of the people and all of the lines to where Jeff was waiting for me in time.  We were already fairly close to the front of the line when I left and I had been gone a while. I knew if I missed him there was no way we would make it onto one of these very last elevators of the night to the top.

I was moving as quickly as you possibly can through a crowd like that, getting in a few brisk steps before  someone else dodges out in front of you completely stopping any movement in any direction until another hole opened up through the masses and I could take off again.  As I came up on one of these blessed openings I saw a man begin to bend down on one knee proposing to the woman he was with.  No one else was around.  The sun was just starting to go down and it was a gorgeous day.  I couldn't believe what a perfect setting it was and grinned at my fortune at witnessing something so sweet! Instinctively I reached for my phone in my pocket thinking I should take a picture for them.  Then I hesitated thinking, "Nah that's kinda creeperish to take pictures of strangers".
I am no professional photographer and have no ambitions of becoming such but I sure do love when I can capture a real moment on camera. I am always the picture taker when I am out with friends or family.  I'm good about sending the pictures I've taken to everyone who is in them.  My friends are always grateful that I've snapped away and documented our trips and fun times.  So the thought to take pictures of  this moment was my first reaction. I shut it down and kept walking.  After I was at least 20 feet away I was still wrestling in my head with it thinking, "If that was me on vacation and being proposed to at sunset on the Eiffel Tower I would want those pictures!" So following the golden rule of doing unto others as you would have done unto you, I stopped, turned around and took 5 pictures of the couple. The man had already gotten up from his knee.  The woman's reaction was clearly one of joy and happy tears.  I watched as she threw her arms around his neck and gave him good kiss.
Almost instantly the rush of people was blocking my view of them and I could hear my husband whistling our family whistle letting me know he was looking for me. I knew he must be at the front of the line.  I would worry about finding the couple to share the pictures later, right now I was on vacation with my hubby and I really wanted to make it to the top of that dang tower.  I was breathless and a bit flustered when I finally had finagled my way back into line.  I just barely made it back in time to catch one of the last elevators of the night.

On our way up I shared the pictures of the engaged couple with my husband and a few people who'd been in line with us. I wanted them to see what the couple looked like and asked them to keep their eyes open for them when we came back down so that I could share the pictures with them.   The view from the top of the tower was gorgeous. I was so thrilled that we made it. We looked for the couple from my pictures on the way down.  We kept an eye out for them once we got down off of the tower as well.
It was the first day of summer and the entire country was celebrating with a huge music festival.  Every city had free concerts going on with music of every genre.  Paris had several of them and one was in the same park as the tower is located so it was even busier than usual.  Our search was futile.
After we had been home for a few days I was still thinking about the proposal I had witnessed. I kept thinking about how if it was me I would want the pictures of that beautiful moment.  A friend had suggested sharing on social media to see if anyone knew them.  I decided since I had friends across the country and I had guessed that at least the man in the pictures was dressed similarly to men from the US and maybe I'd have a shot at finding them.
Wednesday morning I posted the 5 pictures on my Facebook wall and asked my friends to share the pictures and help me find the couple.   I had several suggest sharing with the media.  I decided to share in two places. One being our local ABC 30 and then I shared the pictures on Ellen's Facebook page.  I knew it was a long shot but again worth a try.


bbm said...

What you got a chance to witness in Paris, is what I do for living!

I work for TripShooter and we specialize in taking photos of surprise wedding proposals all across Europe. It is always very touching to witness the emotion of that special moment. Many couples tell us that they cherish their proposal photos even more than their wedding ones.

You may see how we do it here ->

CarolAMFT said...

Where is the rest of the story, Jenn? What happened? Did you find the couple? I heard the pics went viral and saw you for just a moment on the news! Carol A.

Unknown said...

Carol the rest of the story is shared in the next two blog posts but the short version is that they've been found!