Phyllis and Jerry Grever were ending a vacation in Orlando and had been dropped off at the airport around 10 a.m. They were going to catch the 12:30 p.m. plane to Chicago and take a connecting flight back home to Philadelphia. Because they had time, they wandered through some of the airport stores including a few jewelry stores. Phyllis had gotten a new setting for her engagement ring and was looking for a wedding band that would match. No luck. Since time was passing, they headed to the security line.
"We put our carry-on bags on the X-ray belt, walked through the metal detector, and picked up all our belongings on the other side of those rubber rollers," Phyllis says. "A tram was coming so we rushed to catch it, sitting on the rear window seat while dozens of passengers hung onto the overhead straps. A few moments later, we arrived at our destination, left the tram, and walked across the shiny tile floor onto the carpeted area and up to Gate #13. We checked in and sat down to wait for our flight."
It was then that Phyllis' glance fell onto her engagement ring. Where the big diamond had been, there was now nothing but a hole.
"Jerry!" Phyllis cried. "My diamond is missing!"
The two began to search around the area—on the floor, under the chairs—on their hands and knees. They retraced their steps to the check-in counter. Other passengers joined the hunt, but the flight was ready to board. Phyllis couldn't leave Orlando without her diamond. "St. Anthony," she prayed to the saint known for finding lost articles, "I really need you now."
Jerry told the check-in agent what had happened, and she re-booked them for the next flight. They started re-tracing their steps, Jerry searching every inch of the carpet and the tile area and Phyllis checking every car of the trams that stopped. Which one had they taken? It was impossible to know. Eventually she took a tram back to the security area, checking all those rubber rollers, the X-ray belt, and the floors. Nothing. "The only thing I found was a shiny penny, heads up, dated 1997," Phyllis recalls. "I picked it up and put it in my pocket for good luck."
Jerry was waiting for her when she got off the tram. It was obvious by his discouraged expression that he hadn't found the diamond either. He had come across a small sequin and had tossed it onto the carpet several times to see how the diamond might look from a distance. If it was there, Jerry believed, he would probably know what to look for. But, obviously, it wasn't there. "Let's go ALL the way back," he suggested, "to the jewelry stores. That's where we last saw your ring with the diamond in it."
Phyllis agreed. Once more they re-boarded the tram, passed through security (people waiting in line got down to help look), and eventually found the first jewelry store they had entered. The clerk there remembered them and helped them search her store, but no luck. By now Phyllis was leaving her business card with anyone who was willing to call her if her diamond turned up. "St Anthony," she whispered again and again, "where are you? We need you."
"We continued to retrace our original route, even approaching the cleaning people and showing them the empty ring," Phyllis says. "They didn't speak English but seemed to understand my dilemma. They sadly shook their heads."
They got back on the tram, scanning with anxious eyes the carpet and the tile area again. There were very few people around, and it seemed as if everything was slowing down. "It felt like my eyes left my head, like in a cartoon, and they zoomed in on a spot on a big carpet area to a teeny, tiny sparkle on the floor," Phyllis says. "We both seemed to see it at the same time. I ran to the spot, bent down, scooped up the tiny sparkle, and placed it into the empty space on my ring. It fit like Cinderella's slipper."
What were the chances of finding such a small item in such a big place with so many people walking over the same area? Especially since Jerry had examined that carpet inch by inch, used the rhinestone as a guide, and had been positive the diamond wasn't on the floor when he looked. Perhaps the diamond had gotten stuck in the cracks of someone's shoe and been carried to the spot where it was found?
"It doesn't matter how it got there--we know that St. Anthony found it for us," Phyllis says. "Now all we needed to do was to calm down and see when we could get home." By now they had missed two flights and weren't sure there would be seats available for the next one. But another surprise was in store. Their names were called, and when they went to the counter, they discovered their second flight had been delayed and was now boarding. It was as if the flight had been waiting for them, and there were exactly two seats left in coach. As the agent arranged their tickets, an amazed Phyllis and Jerry told her their story about the diamond and St Anthony. She smiled. "He finds things for me all the time!" she said.
The couple was glowing as they got on the plane and settled in their seats. But one more hug from heaven awaited them. Phyllis picked up the magazine in the seat pocket and flipped it open. On one page was a picture of a shiny 1997 penny. On the opposite page was a cut diamond that looked just like hers.
Of course God is in charge of His universe and His special saints and angels--both groups eager to carry out His will. Ultimately, the diamond's return was God's gift to Phyllis and Jerry. It's great to realize that we all have so many helpers in heaven!