Sanitation workers recovered Carla Squitieri's 12.5-carat wedding ring from more than eight tons of garbage after her husband Bernie accidentally threw it out.
It started when Carla, of Clarkson Valley, Missouri, took off her wedding ring and another diamond band to dry the dishes — a moment she forgot about entirely when the doorbell rang.
She ditched the dishes to chat with her granddaughter who had just stopped by, and didn't think twice about leaving the rings behind.
"I totally forgot they were there," Carla Squitieri said.
The panic set in when she awoke the next morning and noticed her naked finger.
"I'm crying, I'm feeling hopeless, I knew something had happened," Carla Squitieri told TODAY.
When she asked her husband about the trash, he replied with disheartening news.
"He said, 'Oh my gosh babe...I threw everything on the counter in the trash.'"
The couple frantically called their trash company, Meridian Waste Services, and found out the truck was on its way to a radioactive landfill.
The company told the couple they wouldn't be able to go onsite, but they could redirect the truck to a different landfill.
Joe Evans, Meridian's operations manager, left his post to help the couple with their search.
"My first thought was, 'It's a waste of time, we'll never find it,'" he said.
Twenty-two minutes later, Evans found the ring in a trash pile Bernie described as "half a city block long and 20 feet high."
It was quite the accomplishment for Evans, who is not regularly tasked with finding lost valuables.
"I was like yeah, I found it! And I took it right over to her, and I opened it up, and both pieces were just laying there. They were so grateful, who wouldn't be, right?" Evans said.
He could barely grasp what had just happened.
"When I first noticed it, I was like, 'Oh my god I can't believe I found it,'" Evans said. "I yelled 'Hey, I found it!' Her eyes got real big, with tears of joy and relief."
With that, Carla didn't think twice about immediately putting the valuables back where they belonged.
"I put (the rings) on dirty, I didn't care," she said.
Of the entire situation, what impressed the couple most was his honesty.
"He was on the other side of a trash pile. If he was not an honest person, he could have put that ring in his pocket and no one would have known," he said.
While her rings are insured, it wasn't the physical object that she was most upset about.
"I'm married almost thirty years and it was my wedding ring. I planned on handing it down to my one and only daughter — never mind the monetary value, it's the sentimental value," she said.
Two days later, the couple is still shocked they recovered the rings.
"I think I'm still numb," Carla Squitieri said. "I'm still in disbelief. I think the angel on my shoulder was there on Monday."
Bernie added, "It really was like a miracle, I have to tell you."
Now, no paper napkins enter the trashcan without a thorough checking.