David Nickell '03 August 7, 2017 5:23 PM updated: August 10, 2017 12:11 PM
Recently, my wife and I, along with a couple of Aggie friends, vacationed in Aruba during the Soulbeach Music Festival.
My wife (Class of ’02) and I have been inspired by the #AggiesEverywhere posts on social media and make it a point to have our Aggie Rings with us so that we can take our own pictures during every vacation. For this trip, that picture was taken at the Natural Bridge (specifically the “Baby Bridge”) located in Aruba’s Arikok National Park. (Photo above)
On Memorial Day, we trekked to Moomba Beach for a little fun in the sun. It was a well attended beach party, and before long a group began tossing a football around in the water. Being a good Ag, I couldn’t resist and joined in the game.
Very quickly a bit of competition developed, and a 50/50 ball landed nearby, unclaimed. As the scrum ensued, I found myself winning the ball and simultaneously losing my Aggie ring in the surf. I watched it slide off my hand and yelled out immediately. Everyone involved in the game immediately looked down and started shuffling their feet to find my ring. One of our friends, a Marine, immediately went to shore for snorkel gear, but with all the soft sand and activity nothing could be seen. Despite my best efforts, feeling around with my toes, nothing could be found.
Two mornings later, I was back out bright and early at first light with borrowed snorkel gear. There was a mix of rain and sun that morning and the water was calm and clear. Unfortunately, my search only produced a beer bottle and a few bright beads. I resigned myself to the likely possibility that my ring was lost to the sea forever. After two hours of searching, I returned to my hotel room and got online with The Association. With a heavy heart, I logged my lost ring and created my new ring order.
We returned home and I got back to work trying my best to conceal my shame and loss, hoping my coworkers (many of whom are Aggies) wouldn't notice the absence on my finger. On Monday, June 12, I was wrapping up a meeting with colleagues and received a text, then an urgent call from my wife. Her text assured me that it wasn’t an emergency, but insisted that I return her call as soon as possible.
I excused myself, fearing bad news, only to discover that she had been contacted and my ring had been found! As it turns out, days prior, a couple from Vero Beach, Florida, visited the same beach while on a stopover during a cruise. While wading in about 5 feet of water, the husband stepped on an unusually hard object, retrieved it from the depth and discovered that it was a quite hefty, shiny gold ring.
In studying the ring, they read my name and began an online search where they found the name of my wife, Lenecia, as someone related to me and pulled up her Facebook page. Our "Aggies Everywhere" photo had been taken just a day before losing it and was set as her Facebook profile picture. They saw the very ring they were holding, messaged my wife, and mailed the ring via UPS.
By Thursday, June 15, 2 1/2 weeks after it was lost, I was proudly wearing my ring again.
I'm not sure what the odds are, but I'm certainly grateful for the Falcones of Florida and their diligence to return my ring. Although our rings will always go on vacation, there will be no more water excursions. Lesson learned!!!
Thanks & gig 'em!!!
Dave Nickell ' 03