People Are So Wrong About This Viral Photo Showing 'Paralyzed Man' Held Up At Wedding

By now, everyone should know that they can't believe everything they see on the internet. Whether it's a story or a photo, things should always be taken with a grain of salt when it comes to the world wide web because, thanks to Photoshop and vivid imaginations, we can say or do pretty much anything our little hearts desire.

Take the beautiful wedding photo of Rita and Jared Shaw as a perfect example of just how quickly and easily a fake story can come to life. All it took was a misinformed reddit post to cause this couple's special photo to go viral, but not for a reason they would have ever expected.

When Rita Shaw posted this lovely moment from her wedding on Instagram three weeks ago, she probably wasn't surprised with the number of likes it received. After all, it's a stunning photo that obviously captured an extremely meaningful moment for her and her husband. However, I'm sure she didn't expect someone to then post the image on reddit with the caption: "Groomsman hold up paralyzed groom for his wedding."

Obviously, this touching story caught the attention of other users almost immediately, and it began to receive a flurry of upvotes. Even I thought the story was amazing when I first saw the post, but I am also quite familiar with the ins and outs of the online world, so I had to make sure the photo and its corresponding description were legit before doing anything with it.

via Instagram / @rita_ri

As I read through the comments from the reddit thread, I started seeing a lot of people calling you-know-what on the story. Rather than a group of men holding up their paralyzed friend so he could give his bride a kiss, users were claiming it was actually a common fraternity pose that symbolized strength, support, and friendship.

So, with this information in mind, I set out to find the truth behind this inspiring image, and eventually, I found the original, which, as I said before, was posted on Instagram by the bride, Rita Shaw.
via Instagram / @rita_ri

Along with her image was the caption: "Happy Founders day to the good Bruhz #RQQ."  After looking up #RQQ, I found out that it represented Omega Psi Phi, an international fraternity that was founded in 1911 by Howard University students.

via Instagram / @rita_ri

The pose in the photograph is most likely the symbol of strength and unity that reddit users were talking about. According to one user, who had a roommate explain the line pose to them, "[It] serves to reinforce the idea that you can and should hold onto your organization members for support and strength as they will hold onto you."

"The ordeals that the line goes through together give them a special bond that is not shared with other members of the organization. That special bond is what is on display here. It's almost like 'the line' is it's own family member."
via Instagram / @rita_ri

So, what can we take away from this story? First, don't automatically believe everything you read online — do your research! And secondly, this photo of Mr. and Mrs. Shaw was beautiful and meaningful to begin with. The story and symbolism behind it is amazing and the last thing it needed was some made up caption meant to garner upvotes.

Congratulations to The Shaws on their beautiful wedding. I wish you a lifetime full of happiness, love, and unbreakable support. 

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