July 24, 2013 at 1:45 PM ET
During a trip to Disney World earlier this month, Nick Landis got down on one knee to propose to his girlfriend when a stranger accidentally photobombed the moment and unwittingly gave birth to the latest Internet meme.
Just as Landis, 24, began to propose to girlfriend Erika Boone, 21, on July 9, an unidentified man hopped in front of the camera of a Disney staffer who was taking photos to preserve the special moment. The stranger was trying to avoid getting in the way of the moment but instead wound up smack dab in the middle of it.
It wasn’t until the couple from Plymouth, Minn., scoured through the collection of photos they bought on a disc from Disney that they realized a stranger had unwittingly blocked the original shot of Landis’s proposal. Boone then posted the photo on Reddit, and the Internet took it and ran with it from there. The stranger is now better known as “In the Way Guy,’’ a meme of him accidentally photobombing everything from the flag raising at Iwo Jima to the tanks in Tiananmen Square to the set of TODAY.
“Neither of us realized that it happened at the time because we were focused on one thing,’’ Landis told TODAY.com. “He saw what was happening, and made split-second decision to jump in front rather than run around the camera person. We thought it was hilarious having a moment like that.”
The filmmaker/voice actor/writer and his fiancée, a dress consultant at David’s Bridal, have not been contacted by the unidentified man or determined his identity since the photo went viral. Landis particularly enjoyed the Tiananmen Square meme, and said Boone likes one of “In the Way Guy’’ in front of St. Mary’s Hospital under a headline saying it's an exclusive photo of the royal baby.
“The odds of him knowing this happened now are a lot larger than they were before,’’ Landis said. “I just hope the guy is taking it in stride. I would feel bad if he was being ridiculed by his friends.”
"In the Way Guy'' actually has been doing plenty of striding - mainly across historical events. Like the time he got in the way of the flag raising at Iwo Jima.
Or the time a sailor was about to bestow an iconic kiss on a woman in a white dress to celebrate Victory over Japan Day in 1945 before "In the Way Guy" photobombed it.