Brought together by viral photo, Overland Park officer to walk woman down the aisle at her wedding

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- A woman who took a picture of an Overland Park officer last summer stayed in touch after the photo went viral.


One year later, the officer is going to walk her down the aisle.

If you didn't know better, it would be easy to assume the pair are father and daughter with the way she rests her head on his shoulder, and holds his arm tight.


“I just love him,” said Jilli Nel.

But before last June, the two had never met. Nel was at Oak Park Mall when Overland Park Officer Andy Black responded to a call of a woman having a seizure.

The woman had collapsed, but was still trying to feed her baby.

“Having the number of children and grandchildren I have, I knew what to do,” said Officer Black.

Officer Black picked up the baby and started feeding her from her bottle. Nel happened to be walking by, and was so touched—she took a picture that went viral after she posted it to Facebook, getting shared all over the world.

“I had to take that photo... he stole my heart,” she said.

While that was a touching moment, it would be the moments that followed that changed both of their lives forever.

“Since then we've just kept constant contact,” said Officer Black.

Their constant contact started out with a text here, and a call there, to now speaking almost daily.

The officer helped Nel through a domestic violence situation, and trauma she now faces from being abused by her stepfather at a young age.

“He was an absolute tower of strength when I was feeling weary or fearsome. Just unsure of things,” said Nel.

She says he's the best father she's ever known, so naturally when she got engaged, she knew there would be no one else she would rather have walk her down the aisle.

“I am so proud of who this man is and what he does. He is my hero,” said Nel.

The wedding is Saturday, and Officer Black was supposed to ride in a processional for fallen KCK Detective Brad Lancaster, who was shot and killed monday.

“He's given that up to actually walk me down the aisle,” said Nel.

It wasn't easy for Officer Black to walk away from, but he'll be there in spirit. He says now he has a daughter that needs to hold his arm down the aisle.

“He had just, he's touched my life in a way that... there will never be another Andy Black. Thank you,” said Nel.

The wedding is next Saturday in Lenexa.

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