Erin and Steve Brown must have been having quite the animated discussion as they walked through Center City Friday night. It was such lively discourse that mid-conversation, Steve’s wedding ring got tired of the talk and whooshed off of his finger, submerging itself deep in the dark abyss of a 13th and Market sidewalk grate.
This was no ordinary wedding ring. It was Steve’s grandfather’s, a ring that symbolized several generations’ worth of sacred commitment.
Needless to say, the Plymouth Meeting couple’s plans for a lovely evening on the town took a nasty dive.
However, the pair didn’t let the sad odds of getting the ring back paralyze them.
Instead, in a show of teamwork skills any marriage counselor would laud, they created an ingenious duct-taped contraption out of dowel rods and a clothes hanger: a “makeshift fishing pole.”
Give these two an honorary Eagle Scout badge, please.
After their weekend of crafting, they returned to the city equipped with tools
Peering into the grated lair that held Steve’s precious ring hostage, they noticed a… peculiar treasure trove. (No doubt hundreds of years from now during a dig, archaeologists will be pretty grossed out by Philly trash.)
Proof of the importance the jewelry had was made evident by their willingness to lay “face down” on the icky grate. But despite their efforts, the only item they managed to fish out of the piles of knickknacks and needles was, in Erin’s words, a “cheap AF” ring — not the real deal.
Strangers grew curious at the sight of a young couple splatted on the sidewalk fussing over a grate on a Sunday — in a city where odd sights are in abundance, even this one looked funny — and came to their aid.
People from all walks of life offered to help Erin and Steve’s desperate search.
Finally, a Philly Police officer came by. When the couple explained that Steve had been told nothing could be done until Monday when City Hall reopened for the week, the officer decided to challenge the status quo.
The PPD officer, identified by 6ABC as Ofc. Danny Leone, called PECO customer service. The call came in around 6:15 p.m., a PECO spokesperson told Billy Penn, with Leone asking for help with “a unique situation.”
Although the PECO customer service rep wasn’t sure, she put in a request to the shift manager, who said “Yes!” and sent technician Brian Naughton to the scene.
It was time to put the arts and craft project aside, and let the pros handle this one.
Naughton, playing the role of the knight in shining armor (more like a hard hat and protective wear) soon pulled up where Erin and Steve were waiting, excitedly anticipating this escalated effort.
Naughton retrieved the ring, while onlookers cheered and basked in the glory.
His name won’t soon be forgotten. For years to come, this heroic technician’s name will be passed on in family reunions and dinner parties. People will no doubt become weary of the “same old story,” but for this couple, the good deed will never become trite.
Erin couldn’t have concluded the saga better.
Now, we hope that the ring gets re-sized… and thoroughly sanitized.