Shaina Day vividly remembers the exact moment 21 years ago when she accidentally flushed her engagement ring down the toilet at her boyfriend's parent's house in Lakeland, FL.
On Facebook, she wrote, "I was cleaning water off the counter with some toilet paper. My ring was sitting on the counter. I must have grabbed my ring by accident and tossed the TP. It was one of the worst things I ever did."
Day was so determined to recover her beloved ring — just days before her wedding — that she actually climbed into her future in-laws' septic tank and pumped every last drop of its nasty contents through a window screen and into a 55-gallon drum in the hopes of capturing it. Despite her heroic efforts, the ring was nowhere to be found.
Flash forward 21 years and Shaina and husband, Nick, are opening gifts on Christmas morning in the living room at Nick's parents' house.
But this would be no ordinary Christmas. The contents of one small bag, gifted to Shaina by her in-laws, was about to unleash a flood of emotions.
"It was kind of an ugly cry," she told WFLA-TV. "I sat there and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, this is my ring. This is my ring.' I’m wiping my eyes and mascara is going everywhere."
It turns out that Shaina's original engagement ring had been stuck for 21 years in the "S" bend of her in-laws' toilet drain. Thousands of flushes were not enough to push the ring through the bendy trap, which is designed to fill with fresh water and effectively stop odors from rising from the drainpipe.
Nick's parents had recently hired a plumber to replace the old toilet. The couple was astonished as the ring emerged when the plumber emptied the excess water from the toilet into the tub so he could keep the floor dry.
The engagement ring was somewhat damaged after being bounced around in the plumbing system for more than two decades, but the center stone remained intact. Nick's parents had the jewelry deep-cleaned and professionally wrapped before returning the prized possession to Shaina.
Shaina and Nick told a number of news outlets that they're still not certain if they will incorporate the engagement diamond into a new piece of jewelry, or hold onto the original ring so it can be handed down to future generations. The bonus of the latter strategy is that the ring comes with an amazing backstory.
Shaina told Fox 13 Tampa Bay that the original ring is "now more meaningful than ever."
And, what's Nick's takeaway from the experience?
"Check your toilets when you lose things," he joked.
Credits: Screen captures via WFLA.com.