Tyler Cook woke up Sunday morning determined to propose to his girlfriend, Yvette Mendez.
He’d been plotting the proposal since the day he bought the engagement ring five months ago.
It was to be an intimate and private moment for the Chowchilla couple, who met about five years ago when both were officers on the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Chowchilla High School.
But through a social media twist, before the night was over, hundreds of people would know Cook had proposed and Mendez had accepted.
The proposal plan: Cook, 23, invited Mendez, 21, to a movie (“Ted 2”) and dinner at the Macaroni Grill at River Park in Fresno. The two have been dating for about a year and enjoy coming to Fresno to see a movie and have dinner.
After dinner, Cook suggested they go to the photo booth at the shopping center. He’d propose there, and the moment would be caught on camera.
Inside the booth, Cook pulled the ring out of his pocket. Mendez screamed, “What?” The camera clicked. He proposed and she said, “Yes.” Click. She giggled. Click. They turned to kiss. Click.
The camera had captured each emotion on a four-panel photo strip.
I DID NOT SEE IT COMING AT ALL
Yvette Mendez of the photo booth proposal
Cook and Mendez hugged and kissed and left the booth, almost forgetting the processed photos. Mendez hastily reached back inside and grabbed a set.
Neither knew that another set of photos had been left on the booth floor.
“We were so in fairytale land,” Mendez said.
Another couple at River Park, Amy Chavira Nehring and husband, Jordan Nehring, of Madera, barely noticed the photo booth next to the coin rides at River Park. They stopped next to the machine only because, Aydan, 4, asked to go on a ride. As Aydan sat down, he handed his mother a picture.
Chavira Nehring immediately knew what she was holding: “It was a man proposing to his girlfriend.”
As she further assessed the photos, Chavira Nehring said, another photo strip blew against her feet, and she saw another strip on top of the ride. The photo booth said “three strips of pictures,” and she thought she had the couple’s only set.
Chavira Nehring considered leaving the photos, should the couple return for them, but decided against it. As a long shot, she took a photo of one of the strips, explained where it had been found, and posted it on two Facebook pages.
“Each post got well over 400 likes within hours and several comments and over 50 shares,” Chavira Nehring said. “And then within an hour, the woman in the picture commented.”
SHE SAID, ‘HI, THIS IS EMBARRASSING, BUT I’M THE WOMAN IN THE PICTURES, BUT I’M SO GLAD YOU FOUND THEM.’
Amy Chavira Nehring of her telephone conversation with Yvette Mendez
Cook, who works at a plumbing business, and Mendez, who works at the police station in Chowchilla, plan to pick up their pictures Friday evening from Chavira Nehring. “I totally appreciate her kindheartedness,” Cook said.
He had barely gotten to his home last Sunday after leaving Mendez at her parents’ house when his fianceé called to tell him, “some lady took a picture of our picture and posted it.”
CHOWCHILLA COUPLE HAS NOT SET A WEDDING DATE
Cook had set out to capture the moment, Mendez’s face and “her real raw emotions” at the time of the proposal, but for only himself and Mendez to share with immediate family. He never expected others — lots of others — would be included.
“This whole forgetting the pictures was definitely not intentional,” he said. Although, he said somewhat sheepishly, he had taken the idea of proposing in a phone booth from a Facebook post he’d seen of another couple. “I thought it was a cool, original idea, so I went with it.”
Mendez said: “It was a private, intimate thing, and all of a sudden I saw my picture everywhere.”
After a little thought, she decided it was OK. “Now, everyone can see, so cool.”
|Chowchilla News Day
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