Taking a photo of your significant other while they’re sleeping and posting it online without their permission is usually not the most romantic gesture. The typical reaction is something between an annoyed eye-roll and a very annoyed restraining order.
But when 34-year-old Todd Herres, from Olympia, Washington, found his 38-year-old girlfriend Eva Alice Webb in bed, he knew he was compelled to snap a photo—but for the cutest reason.
Their relationship was getting serious, and by now Herres knew what kind of woman his girlfriend was. Webb had a rough upbringing, facing difficulties with her parents and being involved in two domestic violence cases.
Despite that, Webb persevered and was the strongest person Herres knew. Not only did she raise two kids, now 10 and 15, she had recently started going back to college.
So when Herres found her in bed, she was sound asleep—surrounded by her school books.
It was the perfect representation of Webb’s tireless, hardworking lifestyle—and it reminded Herres of just what he loved about her. So he snapped a photo.
But then, he decided to share it online, posting it to the image sharing site Imgur. While it’s not an interesting photo on its own, he wrote a caption that put the snapshot in context—and also served as a loving tribute to his girlfriend.
After explaining some of Webb’s history, he wrote this:
This is how I found her tonight. I’m so proud of this woman I could burst.
We went wedding ring shopping earlier today and I think I’m ready to make the best decision of my life.
The internet was touched by the photo, and the post went viral with over a million hits and over 500 comments—most of which were surprisingly sincere, praising the cuteness of it and wishing the couple best of luck in their marriage.
“Let this woman know that imgur loves her and believes in her,” one stranger wrote.
And while Webb could’ve been mad that her boyfriend shared the photo online, she was actually thrilled—the kind words of encouragement really helped her.
“She’s been having a rough time lately and all these positive comments have really boosted her spirits,” Herres commented. “Thanks, everyone!”