When: September 24, 2011 – Only 3 months and 7 days after I got married =(
My buddy was having his bachelor party over at LovEvolution at Oracle Arena. I had already done a ton of things that day, the last of which was to get fitted for the tux. It was the very last day I could do so before it would be too late. Another thing on my list was to go and wash my car. I don’t have a water spigot in front of my house so I decided to take my car to one of those outdoor places. Right before you get on 101 near my house there’s an outdoor DIY car wash. It’s a pretty busy street since it’s one of the main freeway entrances out of The City, so I knew exactly where to go since I’ve passed it hundreds of times. I only had $5 in quarters and it cost $2.50 to start up so I figured I’d wash my car in two cycles. First, I quickly pre-soaked and after that I went to soap the bad boy up. I worked in a good rich lather up until the time ran out.
I was in the first stall on the right. You can see the coin machine right in between both stalls.
Since my phone was in the same pocket I had the quarters in and I didn’t want to get my phone all wet and soapy, I shook off my hands while standing right in front of the machine. Worst. Idea. Ever. The next thing I knew, I was listening in horror to the clang of metal bouncing off of the ground. *Ting* I tried to spot it in mid air… *Ting* I can’t see it, where did it go!?! *Ting* I stood there for a second, waiting for the next bounce. It never came.
I stood there cussing at myself, “WHY DIDN’T YOU TAKE IT OFF?! YOU’RE SUCH A F***ING IDIOT! SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT!” I had no idea where to even START looking! An outdoor car wash is the equivalent to HELL for losing small shiny items. There were puddles and potholes full of water everywhere, there was trash blowing around in the wind, there were piles of dirt and garbage here and there, and not to mention the amount of traffic constantly coming and going. To add insult to injury, a car pulled up behind my stall. “Oh F***ING GREAT, now I have to FINISH rinsing my car so I can move out of the way!” I said to myself. I quickly added more money and hosed off my car as fast as I could thinking someone would just pick it up and keep it. After I was done I moved my car to a parking spot and then started my search.
I looked in the immediate area but couldn’t find it. 15 minutes in, I’m sure it was pretty obvious I had lost something. The look on my face must have tipped people off. I kept my head down at the ground tuning everything else out, as if to channel the power of my other senses to my eyes. I ignored a few more people staring at me and was reluctant to tell anyone lest they keep my most valuable possession for themselves. I stood at the machine next to the stall I was using and replayed the hand shaking motion: both arms went up in front of me about chest level, and then I brought them down hard, letting momentum carry my arms behind me. I then proceeded to look in the direction I thought the ring would’ve traveled. It’s round, it would’ve rolled. How far it rolled was the ultimate question.
Finally I asked for help. The next person, a Hispanic guy probably in his forties, noticed I was looking for something. I felt that I could trust him, so I told him I lost my wedding ring as I pointed to the white line on my finger. The look on his face was priceless, almost as if he knew exactly what I was going through from experience. “Oh boy, good luck!” He replied. He started looking too.
As I was looking in the stall I had previously used, a lady started to pull in. I moved out of her way and when she got out, she asked what I had lost. I explained the situation and her reply was equally amusing as the previous person. “Oh my gosh!! You better head to Zales!!” She quipped.
About 45 minutes after I searched and paced the car wash lot, I decided it was time to call Stef to tell her the bad news.
“Thank you for calling Moth…” She answered as I cut her off.
“Hi it’s me. I love you, please don’t be mad at me.” I said.
“What happened!?” She asked, worriedly.
“I’m at the car wash. I lost my ring.” I said in a somber voice.
“Oh NO!” I could hear the sadness in her voice. Thankfully she was very understanding. She told me to keep looking. I explained it had almost been an hour. I looked along side the fencing, sifted through the urban tumbleweeds, retraced my steps, plunged my foot into several murky pothole puddles, etc.
She reassured me, “Well you have to keep looking. You KNOW it’s there somewhere. That’s like losing $1,000. I’ll pray for you.” I know I know. Back to searching.
Stef called me 15 minutes later. She said she was on her way to help me look. Her coverage came in and she told her what happened so the store would be fine if she left for a little bit.
When Stef arrived, she parked across the street from the car wash. By that time, the Hispanic guy had already left after once more wishing me luck. A few more cars had used the same stall I had used and were probably already home telling a story to their families how an Asian guy was being weird at the car wash. I showed Stef exactly where I was standing, showed her the hand drying motion and she set off to look.
One person who had offered to help went back to his truck. He mentioned the manager was on the premises and his office was in the back somewhere. I told him what happened and he gave me the guys name. I went to the back office, explained that I wanted to leave my name and number in case someone turned it in, but he cut me off. “Well, I can tell you that if anyone finds it, they ain’t gonna bring it to me, that’s for sure.” I knew that in the back of my head, but I left him my number anyway. He came out with a bunch of quarters and helped us search.
He put a few quarters in the machine and sprayed water into the deeper puddles. He said the drains below the car stalls were 10 feet deep and no way in hell would he let me go down there. I told him I distinctly heard the ring roll and fly behind me, so looking down there wasn’t necessary. While he looked in the general area I had already looked, I set off across the street in the off chance it actually made it that far. The distance was about 50 feet so I knew it was a long shot. I figured if a ring is round, given the amount of force and momentum I gave it, it would keep rolling until something either stopped it (a car driving down the street) or that it came to rest along the curb where Stef parked her car.
I started searching along this curb where this silver Volvo was parked.
I used my shoe to brush away the debris along the curb and scanned up and down alongside it. Nothing. I looked up and saw Stef searching in the distance. I looked for the car wash manager and couldn’t find him. He probably went back to his office. I kept looking along the curb and my eyes gazed upon a storm drain. Maybe it fell in? I got on my hands and knees and my heart dropped.
The storm drain my ring fell in to. Across the street.
“BABY I FOUND IT!!!” I yelled at the top of my lungs! She ran over to me and looked down the drain. My ring was sitting on top of a single sheet of those blue shop towels, smack dab in the center of it, as the towel was floating on a pool of water. I was so excited and tried to lift the storm drain cover. Seriously, I tried. While Stef stood watch, I ran back to the office to look for the manager. I banged on his window screaming, “I found it I found it!” I told him it was in the drain and I needed some sort of stiff wire. He brought a spool of wire and I tried to fish it out. The wire wasn’t rigid enough, if I pushed it to much, the paper towel could break and the ring would’ve been lost forever. The manager went back to his office to find a pole of some sort. Minutes later he came back with a conduit pole. I fed the wire through, secured the wire to the pole and make a hook at the end. Ever so slightly I tried hooking my ring, keeping in mind I only had one shot. There was a point where the ring almost fell off, but I hooked the sucker like it was a Championship Stripped Bass.
I thanked the guy a zillion times while he constantly replied that he only had the materials and that I was the one who found it. Honestly though, without his help my ring would’ve been stuck there for good. I’m still in disbelief. Right when I didn’t hear my ring bounce anymore, I started praying to God that He help me find it. God made my ring roll across the busy street street about 100 feet, clear of any cars (keep in mind it’s a busy road), fall into a drain and ON TOP OF A PAPER TOWEL! He didn’t stop there though, he made sure the paper towel was a super absorbent shop towel. Any other towel would’ve broken down instantly (even Bounty) when I started prodding at it with the pole and wire. Moral of the story? Don’t wear your wedding band when you wash your car and trust in God for EVERYTHING.
Since this happened several months ago, I decided to actually measure the distance from where I stood to where the ring was. I used Google Maps and used the scale. Check out the picture below, it’s pretty amazing. Nearly 100 feet.
Notice the scale, each colored band is 20 feet!!