Love-locked lovers found
With a symbolic toss of a key, Jo Morris and Sam Scott sealed their engagement, and found themselves in the middle of a worldwide manhunt.
This is a tale of love and the power of social media - and how it almost created some awkward family conversations for the Palmerston North couple.
It starts in Venice where Scott, 23, took a ring out of the sock he had been hiding it in for weeks and proposed to Morris, 25, on a gondola boat in early July.
She said yes and the couple initially decided they weren't going to tell family in Manawatu until they had finished their overseas trip.
They travelled to Paris, where they visited the Pont des Arts Bridge.
They clipped a 'lovelock' next to thousands of others, throwing the key into the Seine River in symbolic devotion.
Then the thrill of being engaged got the better of them, and they spilled the beans to family in a phone call.
"Thankfully we did," Morris says with a laugh.
A week after their Paris visit, a photographer, and former Palmerston North resident, Erin King was taking photos on the same bridge when she spotted Jo and Sam's name on one of the padlocks.
Curious who the lovebirds were, King shared a photo of the lovelock on Facebook with the promise that she would do a free photo shoot with the couple who had put it there.
"13 hours is all it took to find us," Morris said.
"It was unbelievable."
The photo went viral. It was shared by more than 2000 people and seen by 150,000, including Scott's sister back in Palmerston North.
"When we did the lovelock we kind of thought that was the end of it, the marker will wash off in the rain and we'll never find it again," Scott said.
"Then my sister tagged us in the photo and was like 'I'm pretty sure this is you'."
"It was crazy."
The couple are now back in Palmerston North and looking forward to the photo shoot, which King has promised to do when she gets back from Europe some time in November.
They're planning to wed in the summer time, some time in 2014.
For King, it has been a lesson in the power of the cocktail of love and social media.
"Everyone really wanted this little story to have a happy ending and to find this couple," she said.
"I was actually shocked it worked at all, let alone so fast.
"I posted it late one night when we were in Pamplona and the next day we were traveling to Barcelona, so by the time I checked it again, they had already been found."
The coincidence of everyone being from Palmy was the icing on the cake, she said.
King is now travelling to Venice where Jo and Sam have also placed a lock on the Ponte dell'Accademia Bridge.
With a bit of luck she might even find them again.