June 14, 2013 at 2:44 PM ET
When one woman lost her keys this week, she had no idea what she would end up finding.
Alyssa Lossau, of Mission Viejo, Calif., spent four hours turning her house upside down on Wednesday, trying to find her lost car keys. Lossau’s husband Andrew, frustrated and desperate with the search, picked up a watch box that had been sitting on the counter for a few days, a gift from his wife's mother that she had picked up at a garage sale. He started tearing out the cushions inside the box, and found a sparkling, three carat diamond ring.
Little did they know, the ring — worth $23,000 — belonged to Racquel Cloutier, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., who had hidden it in the watch box before going to the hospital to give birth to her fourth child. While she was gone, her husband Eric accidentally sold it at a garage sale for $5 (after the buyer haggled him down from $10).
“They looked at the ring and thought, ‘There’s no way that ring is real,’” Cloutier told TODAY.com of the Lossaus.
Cloutier had thought her ring would be safe in her husband’s watch case, which he didn’t use because he preferred to just dump his watches in a drawer. “I hid the ring before I went to the hospital because my twins get into everything and my fingers were swollen,” she explained.
Once Cloutier returned from the hospital with her newborn son, she looked for the ring — but it was nowhere to be found.
"I was like, 'You sold it?'" she remembers. "I just instantly started crying."
After several tense moments and an argument, her husband suggested she would probably not see the ring again and that it was best to move on.
“I said, ‘No, I’m not moving on. I’m going to get my ring back.’”
Cloutier wrote to a local news station and told them her story. A media frenzy quickly ensued, fueled by the curiosity over the high value of the ring.
Thanks to all the attention, it took only minutes for Alyssa Lossau to find Cloutier's email address once she realized she was the one who ended up with the lucky box.
Lossau, who lives very close to Cloutier, was able to reunite the new mom and her ring the very next day.
“I knew the chances were small,” Cloutier said of getting her ring back. “But by the grace of God it ended up with the most honest people.”
And the incident may have formed a new friendship: Both families are going to attend church together this Sunday.
As for those car keys? They’re still missing.