"I was going to open the car door and I just saw it fly off of my finger," Asha Cesar said of her engagement ring

By Joelle Goldstein
January 03, 2020 04:46 PM

A newly-engaged couple has FDNY firefighters to thank for recovering the ring that fell down a Brooklyn grate, just hours after their New Year’s Eve proposal.

When the clock struck midnight on Wednesday, Danny Tay got down on one knee in Prospect Park and proposed to his girlfriend of two years, Asha Cesar, with a gold, diamond, and emerald ring.

“I was genuinely surprised, I had no idea,” Cesar told ABC 7. “It was beautiful, it was perfect.”

But that perfect night soon turned to disaster when Cesar and Tay returned to their car later in the evening following their engagement celebrations.

“The ring was loose and I was going to open the car door and I just saw it fly off of my finger and fall right here under this grate,” Cesar explained to the local outlet.

Standing on the sidewalk looking down at the ring, which had fallen about five feet from the grate opening, the Queens couple said they were in disbelief and unsure what to do.

“It was just sheer panic. Sheer chaos. Danny was silent for a good hour and a half, it felt like,” Cesar recalled, adding that she and Tay attempted to fish the ring out themselves for an hour before deciding to call 911 and 311 for help.

When that didn’t work, the couple turned to the firefighters at Engine 249, Ladder 113 — the nearest firehouse to their ring dilemma.

“We just looked so pathetic,” Cesar recalled. “It’s freezing. It’s 4 o’clock in the morning. It’s New Year’s.”

Their begging eventually paid off and the firefighters agreed to help out the couple. Using coat hangers and duck tape, FDNY officials, including firefighter Peter Morawek, created a contraption to fish the ring out and then headed out to the streets.

“I got it on the edge and she was like, ‘Oh my goodness, I’m gonna cry’ and I told her, ‘Don’t cry yet because I might drop it,'” Morawek recalled to ABC 7. “And I dropped it.”

RELATED VIDEO: Engagement Ring Falls Into N.Y.C. Grate

Thankfully, it only took an additional 10 more minutes for firefighters to work their magic and recover the meaningful piece of jewelry.

“I put it in my hand and I told the husband to ‘Step away from the grate, sir,’ and brought him away from the grate and handed it off to him,” Morawek said.

This isn’t the first time that New York City officials have been involved with recovery efforts for an engagement ring that has fallen through a grate.

In December 2018, the NYPD launched a public search for a newly-engaged couple who lost the woman’s engagement ring after security footage captured it falling into a Times Square grate.

They eventually found the pair and returned the ring safe and sound.