Much like crying on the subway and dropping a full coffee seconds after you’ve spent an egregious amount of money on it, a rite of passage in New York is dropping something down a sidewalk grate.
This is precisely what happened to Kate Ray (@kraykray), who shared the wild story of how she dropped her wedding ring down a sidewalk grate and got it back ― without the intervention of city officials ― in a Twitter thread Wednesday.
Ray, a self-described “full snack developer” at the American Civil Liberties Union, started her now-viral story by saying the ring “flew off” her finger while she was talking to a colleague and rolled into the grate.
Ray felt “shock and then relief and then stomach-plunging horror as I saw it fall in in slow motion,” she later told HuffPost via email.
Ray could “see it at the bottom,” so from there she and her colleague called 311, the New York City help line. That sent her on a wild goose chase to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which the 311 operator told her owned the grate.
Ray rounded up MTA engineers at the transit agency’s office across the street, but they then told her that the grate belonged to a different part of the MTA, not the building itself. She then checked with the manager of a nearby subway station, who then told Ray that, actually, the power company Con Edison owned the grate.
(This is an alarmingly good summation of the bureaucratic nightmare that is living in New York, by the way.)
Upon hearing that Con Ed owned the grate and, like many self-respecting New Yorkers, refusing to deal with the company because of past experiences, Ray went to a Duane Reade pharmacy to get some tools. She then proceeded to MacGyver a device out of a measuring tape and duct tape to shove into the grate and fetch the ring.
Eventually, Ray got ahold of the ring, at which point she said a crowd had gathered around to cheer on her attempts to fish it out.
Ultimately, Ray saved the ring and shared an image of both her ring and the tools she used to save it.
If that’s not ingenuity, then we don’t know what is. Ray is one seriously intrepid New Yorker.
The lessons she learned from the whole ordeal, she tweeted, were to “get your rings sized correctly, & your hacked-together taped-up tools are more effective than navigating bureaucracy.”
In response to the post going viral, Ray said she was most excited about Lin-Manuel Miranda sharing it on his Twitter page. “It already felt a bit like a New York City fairy tale, but now for sure is. Mr. Miranda is cordially invited to our wedding in September if he would like to attend,” she quipped.
Well, now we know who we’re calling if we ever lose something in a sidewalk grate. Congrats on being reunited with your ring, Kate!