HEBER CITY — On March 11, Sariah Harker arrived at the Soldier Hollow Train Station in Heber City for what she believed to be a fun photo shoot with her then-boyfriend, Jared Hughes. One thing led to another, and Harker found herself experiencing a wedding proposal that would be immortalized by photos.
Also immortalized in those photos was Heber Valley Railroad conductor Brandon Crose, who witnessed the proposal as his train passed by, smiling for the camera in an ultimate photo bomb.
The moment was captured by photographer Terha Findarle, who said she didn't even notice the conductor until she went back through the photos.
"I was so focused on the two of them and getting the shot of the proposal in real time that I didn't even notice the conductor," Findarle said. "When I uploaded the photos and saw the one with the conductor, I was over the moon!"
Findarle immediately sent the photo to the newly engaged couple and then began a search for the conductor. She posted the picture on a local Facebook group, "Ask Heber," and did just that: asked the city of Heber if anyone knew the conductor.
Soon enough, people responded, and Crose was located and notified of his marriage proposal photo-bomb. According to Crose, he didn't know what was happening at first, but when he saw the groom-to-be kneel down he decided it was a moment worth seizing.
"The train was in the process of shoving backward, which is when the train reaches the end of the line and has to switch directions," Crose explained. "I was at the back of the train when I saw the guy get down on one knee. I thought it would be a great chance to photo-bomb."
The photo-bomb had a small chance of happening, seeing as the train was on the move, but it was apparently meant to be.
Hughes chose the location for its scenery, including the Wasatch Mountain Range in the background, after having driven around for hours to find the perfect place for the proposal.
"I drove around for hours looking for something that would catch my eye, until I remembered driving past this old train station a couple months back," Hughes recalled. "Sariah loves mountains, and on the day I had looked at the location you could see the mountains clearly from that spot. And she's a sucker for history, and that train station has a lot of history behind it. So, it all kinda just seemed like the perfect place."
When they arrived, the sky was full of clouds, blocking the mountain view, but that didn't stop the magic from happening.
"The moment I proposed was exactly what I had imagined," Hughes said. "I walked her over to the spot I wanted to propose, looked her in the eyes and told her that I wanted to spend eternity with her. I had an entire speech prepared in my head but decided to just tell her how much I love her and why. That's when I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me."
As for the couple's reaction to the photo, they both said that they loved it and are glad they have it to show their posterity. Hughes said that it definitely brought a smile to his face.
"When I saw the picture with the train conductor, I couldn't stop laughing," Huges said. "Whenever my friends want to see pictures of my engagement, that's the first picture I show them."
Now as for the results of the proposal, Harker said yes. The two will wed sometime in early summer.