However, he and his wife Erin, both 32, weren’t about to give up on a ring given to Steve by his grandfather and so began an adventure that has gone viral online – here’s how it goes.
Feeling creative, the couple from Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, went to a local hardware store to craft a fishing rod with the hopes of hooking their precious quarry.
Erin remarked that sewer grates in Philadelphia appeared to be filled with “a lovely layer of cig butts, needles, condom wrappers, cash, credit cards, and a few sets of keys” – and this one was about 12 feet deep.
The couple would go on to spend the next few hours “face down on the grate”, being given false hope early on after snagging a ring that alas was not the one they were looking for.
In a series of tweets explaining the hunt, Erin said a host of strangers came to help them search, from tourists and cab drivers to homeless people and even a bachelor party.
Eventually a policeman, Danny Leone, walked by and called the Philadelphia Energy company who sent the couple’s “knight in shining armour” – Brian.
Brian, full name Brian Daughton, descended heroically down into the grate as the couple laid down above to help him search.
“After what felt like an eternity, the flashlight hit a spot,” wrote Erin. “Gold. Shiny. Reflecting the light.”
“Yesterday could have been an incredibly sad and disappointing day, but instead it became a shining example of generosity, perseverance, and what it means to live in the City of Brotherly Love,” Erin wrote in her final tweet.
Speaking to the Press Association, Erin said that the takeaway message form this tale was that “there are wonderful people in the world.”
“Also – make sure your rings always fit properly,” she added.
Erin said the ring, which was cleaned as soon as they were “near a sink”, is at the jewellers now.