A long-delayed honeymoon to an exotic destination got off to a rocky start when a young couple lost their engagement diamond while going through security at JFK International Airport in New York City.
The Queens, NY, couple was excited to finally take off on their tropical honeymoon to Guam — a trip that had to be rebooked due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. The Durranis successfully passed through Terminal 7’s security checkpoint and then stopped to get coffee on the way to their gate when the new bride realized her brand new diamond was missing from its setting.
“My wife was crying hysterically as we did not know what happened, nor did we know how to approach the situation,” Amir Khan Durrani wrote in an email to TSA.
Amir ran back to the security checkpoint and alerted the TSA officers of the missing diamond.
“Everyone was extremely kind and helped me as much as they could to locate the lost diamond,” he said. “Everyone present helped look for the diamond to no avail.”
The heartbroken couple boarded their international flight, wondering if they would ever see their engagement diamond again.
Long before they landed in Guam, an eagle-eyed TSA supervisor had already saved the day.
Standing at his supervisory podium at the Terminal 7 checkpoint, TSA Officer John Killian was surveying the flow of travelers moving through security when something caught his eye.
“That’s when I spotted the sparkle and thought to myself, ‘No way that could really be it.’ I walked over and picked it up.”
The stone was on the floor between the metal detector and the X-ray machine.
“The shine caught my eye,” he said. “I was like, ‘Wow, I just found this diamond!’”
By the time the Durranis landed (the flight to Guam requires a stop-over and takes nearly 24 hours), there was a text message and voice mail from the TSA.
The Durranis forwarded a photo of the engagement ring to the TSA at JFK, and the center stone matched the recovered diamond exactly.
“Our trip went from a chaotic moment to one at peace,” Durrani wrote in an email thanking the TSA team for their honesty and professionalism. “I would like to commend everyone and their efforts for finding our diamond and safekeeping it before our return back to New York. I want to mention deep down in my heart, that this moment put us in relief. I hope everyone understands how much this meant to my wife and me.”
Durrani specifically singled out Officer Killian.
“Thank you so much to all the staff present and especially to officer John Killian,” he wrote. “I might not ever meet you, but you had an impact on us at that moment and I will never forget it. I wish you all the best for your efforts and honesty.”
John Bambury, TSA’s Federal Security Director at JFK, noted that travelers often leave items behind at the security checkpoint, but this situation was much different.
“We frequently return a jacket, a Teddy bear or a set of keys that have been left at one of our checkpoints,” he said. “But returning a lost diamond will certainly be one we will always remember.”
Credits: Images courtesy of the TSA.