GREAT FALLS — A new trend for lovebirds has hit Great Falls - "locking up" your love with a padlock.
The idea is to take the lock and write your name and that of your loved one, and then clip the lock onto the fence along the walking bridge adjacent to the Central Avenue bridge, and toss the key into the river as a sign of commitment to enduring love.
We spoke with one couple, Matthew and Jolene Johnson, who agreed that even if you're single, you can still show your love for your community.
Matthew said, "I say grab a lock and jump in. I think there are many different reasons people can put a lock on this bridge. It's a representation of their love for their spouse or significant other, I mean there was one gentleman that was with us that evening that is single, and he put a lock on here. I think you can do it as a representation of love for the city and the town that you're in."
The couple wanted to do something different to show their love for each other: "Just show love and support for our community and our love and our support for each other. We've been married for 15 years almost. And we thought it was just a new visual representation of love," said Jolene.
They also want to bring a smile to someone's face: "It's always kind of fun to have a romantic gesture... And we just thought that there's just a lot of fear and a lot of hurt in our world right now, and there's nothing more powerful than love. Love is the greatest of all. And we thought that if there was something in the community that they could see, the record represents a love that might bring a smile to somebody's face," said Jolene.
Similar "locks of love" can be found in other communities; one of the most notable is on a pedestrian bridge in Paris. In June 2014, part of the parapet that carries the padlocks collapsed under the weight, and in June 2015, the city of Paris began removing the hundreds of thousands of locks from the bridge.