ST. PETERSBURG — It’s a Christmas miracle.
The Tampa Bay Rays security team said Wednesday afternoon that the Tropicana Field cleaning crew found the missing ring that was originally lost on Friday during Enchant Christmas.
Jim Previtera, the Rays’ senior director of security and stadium operations, said they believe an employee found it in the bathroom.
When he first saw it, he was confident it was the one that belonged to Jessica and Tommy Garvin because it had the distinctive, torn-paper edge that the couple described. But he wanted to verify because it appeared dirty.
“We use a wet power system, so it’s possible that it was mopped or went through the cleaning system,” Previtera said.
“I told her, ‘Look, I think we found the ring. It doesn’t look as shiny as it was in the picture, but I think it’s yours.’"
When Jessica Garvin, 26, and her husband Tommy, 34, learned that the ring may have been found, they were sitting inside a Taco Bell in north St. Petersburg eating dinner.
They were excited but didn’t want to get their hopes up in case it was a false alarm.
But after exchanging pictures with Previtera, the couple confirmed it was the ring. They immediately dropped their tacos and headed to the Trop.
“We were shocked,” Jessica Garvin said. “It feels unbelievable.”
Previtera said he could hear the emotion and excitement in her voice, and they arrived within 15 minutes of the call to retrieve it.
Enchant organizers happily welcomed them with the ring at Gate D at about 5:15 p.m.
And the wife didn’t even care that it was dirty. “It’s just a ring, it can be cleaned,” she thought to herself.
Once she had it back in her possession, she said she wasn’t going to let it out of her sight again. She’s still in disbelief that she lost it in the first place.
“I wasn’t comfortable even wearing it until we got back home,” Jessica Garvin said.
“I have a rule now where I’m only going to wear it in the house. But even now just wearing it, I don’t get it — how it fell off. I’m waving it and testing it inside the home and it won’t come off."
Their next step is to get the ring insured.
“We felt really dumb when people were like, ‘Just get an insurance claim’, and we’re like, 'We don’t have it’,” she said.
It may seem impossible to have found a ring in a dome that spans 1.1 million square feet, but Previtera said they find stuff all the time there. He said their teams kept scouring the public areas, looking for it.
“When I heard about it I certainly hoped someone would find it, but you know it’s a huge stadium,” he said.
“I’m just happy that she got her ring back. It’s a great ending to the story, they’re going to have a great anniversary and great holidays, and I’m just glad we were able to reconnect them with it.”
The couple’s family was thrilled to hear the news after they spent the remainder of their Friday night and the following Saturday searching the Trop and its parking lot. Enchant Christmas organizers will let the couple return for a complimentary visit so they can actually enjoy their experience this time.
Jessica Garvin said she’ll leave the ring at home this time.