Dec. 11 (UPI) -- A New Jersey woman was reunited with her diamond encrusted wedding band almost a decade after accidentally flushing it down her toilet.
Paula Stanton, 60, said she was cleaning her bathroom nine years ago when the gold ring, which her husband Michael Stanton had given her to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary, slipped off of her finger due to the cold weather causing her hands to shrink.
"It was heartbreaking," she said. "I was embarrassed to tell my husband because it was meaningful."
Stanton's husband eventually bought her a replacement ring, but she still held on to the hope that she would find the original, asking Somers Point Public Works Department Crew Chief Ted Gogol two years ago if he'd ever spotted the ring during his work.
While Gogol initially answered no, the inquiry paid off when Stanton and her husband arrived home from a Thanksgiving trip and found a note on their door telling them to contact the public works department.
"I figured they had to work near our house and had to dig up the yard or something," Stanton told the Press of Atlantic City.
Much to her surprise, Gogol had found the missing ring while doing routine maintenance on a nearby sewer line.
"I was only in a manhole less than 400 feet away from their house when I saw something shiny sitting in the mud and debris. I realized it was a ring, and I remembered the woman who was looking for a ring," he said.
The couple's initials were inscribed on the inside of the ring, allowing Gogol to confirm it was Stanton's and return it to her.
"He came by after work and dropped it off. Nobody could believe it. Everyone was in a state of shock. I was hugging him and crying," Stanton said.
Stanton vowed the ring wouldn't leave her sight again, as she now wears it alongside the replacement, after repeatedly boiling it in peroxide and lemon juice.
Gogol was happy he was able to take part in the unlikely recovery, but believed it was ultimately up to fate.
"That ring didn't want to leave her family," he said. "There are so many things that could have happened. It could have been washed away, it could have been crushed, but it was just meant to be."