(NEW YORK) -- One couple is truly seeing the bright side in an otherwise extremely unfortunate circumstance.
Atop an incredible 14,000-foot peak, the perfect setting for dramatic engagement photos, Richie Jones pulled out the beautiful purple sapphire ring he had hand-selected to ask for his longtime love’s hand in marriage. There was just one problem: the ring had fallen out of the box.
“It went from elation to horror and then back to elation. It really was that range of emotions,” Jones, 52, told ABC News of the shocking moment. “It’s hard to describe really. First you summit, which is an elating moment in and of itself, then I make this move and it’s kind of crazy and then I pull out the ring and the ring’s not there.”
The ring had come loose and bounced out of the box as soon he opened it on bended knee.
“One of the guys saw it bounce off the rock and it goes spiraling, just spinning with this top spin down through the air and saw it hit one other rock,” Jones recalled. “We sort of knew which direction it went, but there’s all these crevices and we’re looking around and then we break the silence with, ‘Hold on a second, well what’s the answer?’”
The entire group began laughing as his now fiancé, Ashley Allen, said yes, despite the shock of the missing sparkler.
They had hiked for two whole days alongside their friend, Ben Masters, who originally recounted this story for National Geographic, before reaching the top of Grand Teton, the highest mountain in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. Although Allen never even got to see the ring, the happy couple couldn’t be more thrilled that a piece of their love and relationship is now resting peacefully in this special, majestic landscape.
“To know that our engagement ring is on this incredibly dramatic, spectacular peak, just sitting up there, what more could you ask for?,” said Jones. “It’s almost worth the investment. The thing Ashley said to me was, ‘Look, this just shows our relationship is based in the spiritual realm and not the material realm.’ That philosophy and sentiment was pretty profound and it quickly transformed it into, ‘This was meant to happen. Let’s just roll with it.’”
And that’s exactly what they did.
“When something like that happens you haves two choices,” he explained. “One is to get upset, and the other is to say, ‘Everything happens for a reason. We’re in a gorgeous place and let’s just move on and it’ll all work out.’”
Allen, 47, said that more than anything, she “felt badly for Richie” about the entire situation.
“I think it was more shocking for him,” she said. “He carried this ring all over Wyoming and on these hikes and I had asked him to climb this mountain. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was 17 and he went to all this trouble and that was the shock more than anything."
“All I could think was, this man asked me to marry him on top of this extraordinary mountain,” she added. “We have this 10-hour hike back out and there was no ring to look at. If I had this ring to look at, it would’ve have been a completely different experience. I was doing this soul searching and most of it was really beautiful. But that’s what women do. I would have been distracted by the ring. I was really looking at the glass half full.”
They have not yet chosen a wedding date as they’re waiting on both sets of their children from previous marriages to be done with school so they’re all able to be there together.
“I hope at a minimum that this story has struck a chord and gets people up on Grand Teton and thinking about the spirituality of marriage,” said Allen. “This symbol of our love and our relationship is up there. It’s meant to be there. I spent my whole life looking at these mountains. There’s something really cool and beautiful about it.”
Jones and Allen are planning to create a replica of the lost ring.
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