While Casey Brooks, of Sewaren, N.J., was boogie boarding off Atlantic City's coast on Aug.14, he suddenly felt his wedding band slip off his finger into the waves. And in that moment, just as quickly as his ring had been swept away into the ocean's tide, so did all his hope of finding it.
Brooks and his wife, Lindsey, felt around with their toes in the spot where it had dropped, even borrowing goggles from children playing on the beach to see if they could find it sparkling in the underwater sand, but to no avail.
The couple, upset and discouraged, left the beach to head back to their Tropicana Casino hotel room to get cleaned up for the evening.
"Towards the end of the day we had given up hope," Brooks, 32, told GoodMorningAmerica.com. "We were strolling the beach and couldn't help but kick our toes around in the sand. Lindsay was like, 'Let's ask this woman.' And I was like, 'No leave her alone. Let her do her thing.' I'm very independent and don't like to get in other people's business."
The woman they were debating asking for help had a metal detector and was already scouring the beach for hidden treasure, so Lindsey, 30, approached the stranger.
"She was very knowledgeable about her hobby," Brooks said. "She said things like, 'OK, well the current today isn't too strong. The tide right now is going out.' She knew the current, the water and she knew exactly where to start looking."
Within 15 minutes, a full five hours after Brooks had lost the ring, the anonymous woman had found it.
"We lost it about 2 p.m. and found it about 7 p.m.," Brooks said. "I was swimming in chest deep water at high tide when I lost it, and we found it in ankle deep water at low tide. It was 20 to 40 yards away from where I lost it."
The ring was also buried under at least a foot of sand.
The happy couple was so ecstatic the woman had located the ring that Brooks felt compelled to offer her the $100 he had in his wallet, but in all the fuss, forgot to catch her name.
"She didn't want anything. But in my mind, I thought I was going to buy a whole new wedding band, which is more expensive than what I had on me," Brooks said. "I had $100 in my pocket and I was more than happy to say, 'Here, here, here,' because that, to me, was my jackpot in Atlantic City."
Brooks and his wife, who haven't even been married a full year yet, are grateful for the kind woman's selfless actions.
"Thank God she was there," he said. "We gave her big hugs and said, 'You've got to take a photo with us.' It's always great to know there are still good people out there.
"We didn't win in the casino, but we definitely won on the beach," he said.