NEW YORK -- A TSA team reunited a traveler with a newly purchased diamond that went missing from her engagement ring during her pandemic-delayed honeymoon.
The Durranis were ticketed to fly out of John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City to Guam, and after passing through the Terminal 7 TSA checkpoint, the couple decided to get some coffee.
But when they got to the coffee shop, the new bride shouted when she realized her diamond was missing.
"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.
He raced back to the checkpoint and alerted the TSA officers.
"Everyone was extremely kind and helped me as much as they could to locate the lost diamond," he said. "I told them that I knew this was not their job" to help find a lost diamond, although "everyone present helped look for the diamond to no avail."
Lead TSA Officer John Killian returned from a break about five hours after the diamond was reported missing, and he was standing at the TSA supervisory podium when he glanced toward the checkpoint line to get a sense of how busy it was.
"I looked out to the checkpoint, and the sparkle just hit me instantaneously in the eye, and I was like, 'No way this, this can't be happening,'" he said. "That's like a one on one in a million shot. I was baffled. I couldn't believe it."
The stone was on the floor between the metal detector and the X-ray machine.
"A diamond that size, I've never heard of that being recovered," Killian said. "Never, if that's even ever happened at TSA. I know we find, we come across jewelry and all different kinds of items, and we always return it to the lost and found. And it goes back to the rightful owner. But a diamond like that, five hours later. That's incredible."
When the Durranis landed, there was a text message and voicemail informing them that TSA believed the diamond had been located.
The Durranis sent a photo to the TSA, which matched the diamond found at the checkpoint.
"Our trip went from a chaotic moment to one at peace," Amir Khan Durrani wrote in the email. "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."
When the Durranis returned from their trip, they connected with TSA Manager Mishane Henry.
"Before I handed over the diamond, I asked them to show me the ring to make sure that I could confirm handing it over to the right couple," she said. "It was a match."
The Durranis were grateful.
"Thank you so much to all the staff present and especially to officer John Killian," the email read. "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."
TSA's Federal Security Director John Bambury said the story is a credit to the agency.
"This is a fine example of the integrity of our workforce here at JKF Airport," he said. "I know that it is always rewarding when our team is able to reunite a passenger with something that they've left behind or lost at the checkpoint. We frequently return a jacket, a Teddy bear or a set of keys that have been left at one of our checkpoints. But returning a lost diamond will certainly be one we will always remember."