Breast cancer survivor finds husband's lost wedding ring thanks to random man with metal detector

Eric Lester offered to help the De Leons find their lost wedding ring when he saw their desperate Facebook post. (Getty Images)
Eric Lester offered to help the De Leons find their lost wedding ring when he saw their desperate Facebook post. (Getty Images)

Not all heroes wear capes. Some carry metal detectors, like Eric Lester, who helped a couple find a lost wedding ring last week.

When Vicki Fiedel De Leon’s husband, Nathan De Leon, lost his wedding band in the snow Nov. 15, she posted on a neighborhood Facebook group hoping people would just “keep an extra eye out,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Lester did that, and more.

“It was the night of that horrible snowstorm,” Vicki, who lives in Goshen, N.Y., tells us. “My husband works in Manhattan. He took the 4:15 p.m. bus from Port Authority to Orange County. It took him about 7.5 hours to get back up here to Goshen, so he got in around 11:30, 11:40 p.m.” His car was waiting for him where he had left it at the station’s Park and Ride, but it was covered in snow. “He didn’t have anything to clean the car off with, so he used his hand,” Vicki said. Nathan got to their home a little after midnight. “He got undressed and he was like, ‘Oh, my God, my wedding ring is gone,’” Vicki recalls. They were both devastated.

She insisted they could wait until daylight to look for it. “He was like, ‘No, no, no, we’ll go now.’ I tried to hide how upset I was. But he said he saw it in my face,” she says. “It was more important that he was home safe. Yes, the ring is sentimental, but I would rather have him home safe.”

The ring is more than just a symbol of their July 2017 union. “I was diagnosed with breast cancer 19 days before our wedding. So its meaning is even more significant to us,” Vicki says. “It was the start of two journeys.”

Thankfully, one of those journeys is nearing its end. “I am now a survivor — I have one more surgery and one more treatment next month,” she says.

Upon his insistence, they went back to the lot that night to look for this deeply symbolic piece of jewelry, but were unsuccessful in their search. Nathan went back a second time that night but wouldn’t let his wife come.

During his second trip, she shared the story on a Goshen Facebook page. “I posted on there at maybe 1:30 in the morning about the ring. I was very upset,” she remembers.

Giving the found treasure back to the rightful owner (when possible) is more rewarding than keeping it.

Posted by Eric Lester on Friday, November 16, 2018

But she had hope. “It’s a small town,” she says of Goshen. “I’m born and raised in Brooklyn, and if it’s missing in Brooklyn, you’re never going to see it again. But that’s not how I was raised. I’ve found things and given them back to the person.”

After reading the post, Lester sent her a friend request and a message. “I just [immediately] felt for her,” Lester told Spectrum News. “I could sense through her words she was desperately looking to get her ring back and understandably so. I reached out to her and said, ‘I’m happy to come help you look with a metal detector.’”

They accepted the stranger’s offer to meet them the next morning at the Park and Ride. Lester was already there and on the hunt when they arrived. “So we got there and got out of the car and introduced ourselves. He said that when we got out of the car, he saw the pain in our faces,” Vicki says. But Lester had something that would cheer them up. “Right when we got there he said, ‘Promise me if I find it, you’ll give me a picture,’ and we’re like, ‘OK. Whatever you want.’” That’s when he pulled out Nathan’s ring. “He got started before we even got there! He said it took him like 30 seconds; it was exactly where we said the car was parked,” she says. “He took the shovel, moved the snow and it was right under the snow.”

The couple immediately started crying, hugging and thanking Lester.

This was the lift the De Leons needed. “The past few years have been rough,” Vicki explains. “My mom was in recession from leukemia. I’m also epileptic, asthmatic, I have a thyroid issue. The last major surgery I had pushed me into early menopause.” She also lost her two part-time jobs when she got sick, and will be looking for a new job in the new year.

“We are just so grateful to him,” she says of their “angel in disguise.” “It proves that there are still good people in the world.”

They want to repay him. “We keep trying to give him something for his help, but he refuses,” Vicki says. She noticed pictures of his young children on his Facebook profile. “Not even something for his kids. He will not take anything.”

He will take their friendship, though. “We’ve become friends — he’s a very nice man. Someone that I’d want to be friends with.” After the holidays, they have plans to see Lester’s collection of treasures found with his metal detector.

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