A Diamond in the Rough

This is the story of the trip that changed our lives forever.

1 Roadtrip4

We set out in a car with our best couple friends, Madeleine and Erin, for an 18-hour drive to New York City from Halifax, Nova Scotia.


We planned for weeks: where we would go, what we would eat. Unknown to me, Mal had done a bit more planning than I had…

2 Roadtrip7

We arrived in NYC late Friday night, and set off to Brooklyn by subway early the next morning.

3 BrooklynWaterfront19

The first bit of fate happens here: Walking through Dumbo Brooklyn, we came across a gorgeous bit of street art. My immediate reaction? “This would be a perfect location for an engagement photo shoot!”

Mal then took this picture, imagining she might add it to a photo album of the events to come.

4 BrooklynWaterfront18

We then found this park almost by accident, and spent some time taking pictures with the bridge we were already developing a complicated relationship with.

5 BrooklynWaterfront35

And so, we began our trek across the bridge with the intent of locking our little painted lock, like so many couples had before us.

7 BrooklynBridge14

As I pulled the lock from my bag, Mal presented me with another lock from Erin’s backpack (coincidentally, the same model).

8 FakeProposal2

On her lock was a stunning white gold emerald cut diamond ring.

9 FakeProposal23

She had engraved “Don’t Freak Out” into the brass. How fitting that sentiment was about to be.

10 FakeProposal67

Completely in shock, I returned the lock and ring to Mal, so that she could open it.

11? FakeProposal69

She carefully slid the key into the lock, and turned it. As Madeleine and Erin had both the ring and lock in their possession until this moment, Mal had never practiced this simple movement. As she turned the key, the lock popped open, and swung down. The ring slid off of the lock, and sat for a moment between two planks of the boardwalk.

12 FakeProposal70

While the duration of time the ring sat there for is wholly unknown to us – time having been so distorted that afternoon – it was long enough for Mal to think, “Huh. That will be tricky to pick up.”

No sooner had this thought occurred, the ring slipped through the space and fell into oblivion.

13 FakeProposal41

Within seconds we were all on our hands and knees, our eyes pressed between the wooden planks, searching for the delicate diamond ring – a diamond in the rough.

40 feet below us, on an industrial platform (inaccessible to the public) we spotted the ring. I attempted to keep Mal calm while Madeleine ran back to where she had seen NYPD officers.

Minutes later she returned with two officers, Manley and DeFazio. They were confused at first, but soon understood our plight and committed to getting the ring back to us if it was in their power to do so.

14 FakeProposal42

After much deliberation about their method, they walked back to Brooklyn, drove across the bridge, and stopped Saturday afternoon New York traffic so they could park and make their descent.

15? FakeProposal57

A few anxiety ridden minutes passed, and finally Officer Manley emerged with the ring in hand. Giving us the thumbs up, they then drove back to Brooklyn, and we met them to make the exchange.

16 FakeProposal60

Upon meeting us, Manley asked Mal, “So, did she say yes?” To which Mal replied, “I think so?” Manley promptly high fived her.

16 FakeProposal62

Exhausted by the bridge, we decided to walk our shaking selves back to the “Yes” graffiti we had found earlier.

17? BrooklynBridge18

With Madeleine and Erin as diligent photographers, Mal properly asked me to marry her. She said that the first time I danced at her in a grocery store, something changed in her, and she wanted nothing more than to wake up next to me for the rest of our lives. It was my turn for ugly tears.

18 Proposal54

19 Proposal6

20 Proposal56

…I said yes.

21 Proposal11

23 Proposal22

After making shaky calls to our family, we retreated to Ambrose Hall to find that Madeleine and Erin had ordered us a bottle of champagne. They had gone ahead to find the bar, and although they were closing, hearing our story they agreed to stay open and celebrate with us.

24 AmbroseHall10

25 AmbroseHall15

A few glasses of champagne later, we finally resolved to return to the Brooklyn Bridge to finish what we had started.


With the diamond securely on my finger, we trekked across, and fastened our lock onto the bridge, sealing our love and commitment to each other.

27 BrooklynBridge10

28 BrooklynBridge34

Let’s go back to this early picture of the Brooklyn Bridge.

6 BrooklynWaterfront31

This is where the ring fell. Had we chosen a spot even 10 feet earlier, the ring would have landed in the East River, instead of the platform.

Open to the River

We spent the rest of the trip in a dream like state, still in disbelief at our luck. We are so deeply grateful for all of the people who came together and helped us that day, especially the NYPD officers who went above and beyond for some unlucky tourists.

29 Subway5

The Universe works in mysterious ways; we both certainly believe that now.

30 FoodTrucks25

There’s a lot of hatred and negativity towards our community; we’re certain it will be generations before that is eradicated.  That’s why we felt it important to share our story, to provide a bit of hope that there is good out there too.

NYPD Information:

Officer DeFazio and Officer Manley, 122 Precinct in Staten Island, New York.

49 thoughts on “A Diamond in the Rough

  1. That story gave me chills. A super big congratulations to the both of you. May you spend a lifetime of happiness and love together 🙂


  2. Amazing story girls. And congrats Liv. All the best to you guys. So glad the NYPD were there to help. You guys deserve all the happiness in the world. Lots of love on ur journey together and for many more for ur future that has yet to come :). Xoxox


  3. Good morning Olivia,

    My name is David Aspinall and I am a reporter for Caters News, an international news agency based in the UK (www.catersnews.com)

    I have seen yours and your fiancees story on the New York Daily Post about the NYPD saving your engagement ring and I was hoping to cover it for the national press over here.

    If you’re interested in working with me can you please get in touch on davidaspinall@catersnews.com.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Many thanks


  4. beautiful story, I never knew about the locks on the bridge. The romantic side of me want to make a road trip and add my own lock to the bridge. I hope you enjoy each other for many more years


  5. Congrats! Olivia, you gave me a tour of Dal when I was there in August. You were amazing, which is why I probably recognized you when I saw you guys’ picture on a Buuzfeed post. Awesome!


  6. I saw your story on a Buzzfeed post today. You two look so happy together. I hope that happiness stays with you both for many, many decades to come. Congratulations on your engagement! 🙂


  7. What an amazing story! I’m so glad you got the ring back! Congratulations to you both and just FYI, I’m an officiant and if you girls decide to get married in or around Pismo Beach, I would be more than honored to marry both of you. 🙂 pismobeachweddings.org


  8. Hi Mal and Olivia, what a great story! I’m a producer with Australia’s “Sunrise” breakfast TV show and we’re interested in talking to you about this amazing proposal on the bridge. Could you please let me know if this is possible, thanks


  9. Congratulations to the lovely couple! Read your engagement story on breakingnews.ie – wishing you a long and happy life together!


  10. Every time I read this I get teary eyed!! I’ll be a mess when the day finally comes!! So happy for you both!! xo


  11. Congrats! What a beautiful story and such an amazing experience! I love NYC, it is one of my favourite American cities to visit. My husband proposed to me in NYC too, this city holds a very special place in my heart. Congrats again and wishing you both all the very best!


  12. Pingback: Epic | ThatToyBoy
  13. Mal, I’ve known you since you were a little girl and I’m so very happy for you. You and Olivia are certainly making some great memories together!! I wish you both a long and happy life together.


  14. What a wonderful story! If you lovely ladies are interested, I’d love to feature you on my website. (www.GayBrideGuide.com) I try to feature a different engayged or married/ unioned couple each week. Shoot me an email stories[at]gaybrideguide[dot]com if you’re interested! 🙂

    Congratulations again!

    All my best,


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