My detecting partner had a really nice “lunch” this past Wednesday. I’m not talking about what he had to eat that day, but what he was able to accomplish for Andrea. Just goes to show what talent, high end equipment and a lot of dedication and experience can accomplish. Here’s the story in Andrea’s own words…
On Saturday, July 30, 2016, my family and I were looking forward to a wonderful day at the MD Zoo in Baltimore. My sister-in-law was visiting from upstate NY and my husband and I, along with our two kids, Natalie (age 6) and Jack (age 3) were excited to spend the day with her exploring the zoo. Natalie hadn’t been to the zoo since she was 2 years old and this was Jack’s first time to the MD zoo. Like many families with young kids, we had a bit of a rough time getting our family moving in the right direction to get to the zoo for its opening hour and felt a little behind the 8 ball by the time we arrived and parked around 11:30 am. In an effort to move us along, as soon as we parked I got out of the car and immediately started making efforts to apply sunscreen to the kids who weren’t too happy about the process, but complied just the same! I set my daughter’s hat down on the ground next to our vehicle in the grass and grabbed the sunscreen out of our backpack. Before spraying it on my hands, I made the unfortunate mistake of taking off my diamond engagement ring and my diamond wedding band and placing it in my daughter’s hat on the ground so I wouldn’t get sunscreen all over my rings. I went on to apply sunscreen to my daughter and then moved on to my son. While I was putting sunscreen on my son, I heard my husband say to my daughter, “do you want to wear your hat today?” Again, distracted with putting sunscreen on my squirmy 3 year old, I didn’t even think to say anything about my rings. I heard my daughter say “no” and what happened after that changed the course of the day for us. Once my daughter said no about wearing the hat, my husband who had already scooped the hat off of the ground, turned the hat over, folded it in on itself to make it smaller and shoved it into our drawstring backpack to take it into the zoo with us. I realized not too long after that what had happened and made a beeline for the backpack. Miraculously, my diamond engagement ring was still in the hat, but my diamond wedding band was no where to be found.
The next 7 hours were agonizing. That’s how long we stayed at the parking site looking for the ring. Thank goodness my sister-in-law was with us and agreed to take our very excited children into the zoo so their day wouldn’t be spoiled. My husband was in and out of the zoo that day trying to assist with the kids, but also trying to assist me with the ring search. He even drove to the local Home Depot to see about purchasing a metal detector, but found out they didn’t have any in stock. We ended up finding 2 individuals online who agreed to come out that evening and look with their metal detectors, but, unfortunately couldn’t locate the ring. We stuck around for a couple of hours after the zoo closed for the day, and the kids were hungry and tired, plus there was an impending thunderstorm about to hit, so we decided to pack it up and return to our home in Harford County saddened, shocked, dumbfounded…..you name it!
The weekend passed and I had heard back from one of the metal detectorists who had been helping us the day this happened. He graciously went to the zoo on Monday, 8/1/16 with 2 buddies, searched for over 2 hours even expanding their search area in the parking lot. They didn’t find the ring. Before I had heard this news from him, I had searched the internet for other metal detector experts in the area. I had found The Ring Finders website and found the contact information for the Baltimore area rep. I reached out to him and he got back to me immediately, but, unfortunately, told me that he wasn’t in the local area at the time. He told me he was in Ocean City conducting several ring searches. He agreed, however, to provide me with a referral. He gave me Lance Griffin’s phone number. I called Lance and arranged to meet him at the zoo on Wednesday, 8/3/16 @ 11:30 am during his lunch break from work. When I arrived at the zoo, it was packed! In fact, it was more crowded than it had been the previous Saturday when the ring went missing. At that moment, I didn’t have much hope to find the ring especially knowing that we had searched for so long on Saturday and that a search was done on Monday as well. To make matters worse, when I arrived at the zoo, I immediately noticed that there was a car parked in the parking space that we had been in when the ring went missing. When I met Lance, he was so professional and calm. We walked to the parking space, he asked me to describe what happened, and the approximate location of everything. He said he would give it a try even though there was a car taking up the majority of the parking space. I’m so elated to report that Lance found my ring within the first 10 minutes of meeting him in the small strip of grass next to where that car was parked!!
The last several days have been an array of emotions. The emotion that I struggled with the most was guilt. Guilt for praying for a material object to return to my life knowing very well that there are so many people in the world facing problems much bigger than the loss of a ring. Still, I sent up prayers that my ring, which means so much to me, would be returned safely to my finger; the same finger my husband placed it on during our wedding day close to 12 years ago. As I sit here now, I have so many other emotions running through me. I am absolutely amazed that a man, Lance Griffin, who is essentially a total stranger to me, out of the goodness of his heart, listened to my story, responded to my plea for help, delivered on his promise to meet me, and came through with what resulted in an unbelievably beautiful outcome. I have so much gratitude for him and all of the individuals that make miracles like this happen. Lance, for me, exemplifies the goodness and the positivity that exists in humanity!