Every once in a while — even in Miami — a story emerges that restores our faith in humanity. This is one of those stories, and it all began in a place that has hardly been a well of good feelings lately: American Airlines Arena, home of the floundering, injury-wracked Heat.
This is the story of how a newly married Amber Elena Pallares went to a Miami Heat game while wearing her wedding ring and unknowingly left without it. Luckily, this is also the story of how a gracious Miami Heat fan found her ring and how the good people of #HeatNation used social media to help.
Pallares attended the February 9 Miami Heat home game against the New York Knicks. At some point during the game, she lost her ring but didn't realize it until days later. She wasn't even sure if the Heat game she had attended was the last time she had it on.
"Once I realized I lost it, I didn't say anything, nor did I bring up the ring again because I figured it was long gone," Pallares tells New Times.
"I honestly did not realize I lost the ring until about a week later. I realized I couldn't find my gold band (which my mother gave me engraved as a gift), and I flipped. I always take my rings off when I wash my hands, so I'm guessing I left it in the AAA bathroom."
Amber didn't know it, but shortly after the game — which the Heat won 109-95 — a Miami Heat employee found the ring. Unsure what to do with it, he handed it over to his daughter, Janny Morales, who promised to try to find the owner. She started with one clue: the name "Amber" engraved on the inside of the ring.
Morales posted a picture of the jewelry on Facebook. News of her mission soon made its way to Twitter. And when Heat owner Micky Arison shared the tweet with his 208,000 followers, it went viral.
Within minutes, a savvy Heat fan had located the couple's account on WeddingChannel.com. This put faces to the names that had been engraved on the rings. Now Heat fans knew whom to look for: Amber Elena Pallares, wife of Ferni.
Soon people began figuring out who Amber was and where she worked. She started getting contacted — a lot.
"Ironically, I was at the American Airlines Arena (for Disney on Ice) with a friend, my daughter, and her daughter, when I started getting tons of calls, texts, and Facebook messages about my ring; I was honestly in awe," Pallares says. "When I saw that someone was going so out of their way to find me and then all of the help of other people retweeting and sharing the post, I was honestly just grateful and realized there are good still goodhearted people around."
With a little more Twitter conversation, Amber's phone number soon made its way to Morales. The text messages below are the result:
After a little planning, the two met at Trump Resort Easter afternoon, and the ring was returned.
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"She was very happy to get the ring back to me. We joked that my ring was like Cinderella losing her slipper because my wedding finger is a size four." Pallares says.
She continues, "I'm sure most people think, What's the big deal? I think the big deal here is that some sweet woman who has a heart and saw a ring engraved, and as a married woman herself, knew the value of this ring — not by money, but by its meaning and love and realized if it was her ring, she would hope that person would do the same.
"To me, that's amazing. That's what the world needs, more people like her."