It's the post-crash photo shared 'round the world. Something that's considered a worst fear for most of us became a reality for Arika Stovall and Hunter Hanks on New Years Day; a horrific car crash. But the car crash that should have killed them quickly became a source of inspiration for the couple, along with thousands of people worldwide.
So, who is this couple in the famous post-crash photo? According to CNN, Arika Stovall and Hunter Hanks are a young couple from Nashville, Tennessee. They were traveling back home to Nashville on January 1 when their Toyota Tundra struck a bridge support.
According to Stovall's Facebook page, she is a graphic art designer and sales associate at Title Boxing Club in Nashville. Hanks' Facebook page doesn't list an occupation, but it shows his hometown is Macclenny, Florida. They are both students at Lipscomb University.
Fox San Diego reports that the couple was traveling over 85 miles per hour and should have been killed. Miraculously, both of them survived without more than a few minor injuries. But the wreckage isn't what went viral. It's the Facebook post Stovall made on January 3 to update her family and friends about the accident.
In the post, she shared a touching photo of her and Hanks the first time they were finally able to see each other after the accident. Her Facebook post began, "Three seconds. That's how long we had from the moment we drifted off the road until the truck hit the pillar at 85 mph...We're so grateful for this wreck and all it will do in our lives."
The rest is history, and the photo went viral in short order. A close friend of the couple and the photographer who captured the photo, Savannah Gaines, described the moment the couple finally saw each other after the crash.
Gaines said, "It was unbelievable when they saw each other. I know them so well, and they love each other so much. They were completely blessed to walk away from that."
Although Stovall was the one who initially posted the post-crash photo and Facebook post that went viral, Hanks recently took to Facebook to express his gratitude for the outpouring of love they have received following the car accident.
"I just want it known how extremely humbled I am through all of this. All of the love and support and prayers we've received has been tremendous. You always wonder to yourself that if something happened, how many people would actually care and come to your side and be there for you? Well I know Arika and I got our answer and it's been truly overwhelming. I've had to fight back emotions non stop still just talking about it..." Hanks wrote on Facebook.
As of this weekend, news outlets from California to New York and everywhere in between have caught news of the post crash photo story. As of Sunday, the original post has over 82,000 shares on Facebook. The post crash photo couple both plan to return to school on Monday
Amidst stories about war, terror and mass shootings; there's something very refreshing about this happy ending; especially because this extraordinary story happened to an ordinary couple, just as it could happen to any of us. We wish a very speedy recovery to both Arika Stovall and Hunter Hanks.
[Photo credit: Facebook/Arika Stovall and Hunter Hanks]