Brian Tovin made an unexpected find when he went hunting for prehistoric shark teeth in South Carolina's Cooper River. The diver came across a large, gold College of Charleston class ring -- from 1974.
The initials RLP were inscribed on the ring, the Post-Courier reported. Tovin made it his mission to find its owner.
He began by calling the college's alumni association, CNN reported. He learned that only two people with those initials graduated in 1974, and one was female. Therefore, the ring's owner was, in all probability, a man called Robert LeVaughn Phillips.
Through Facebook, Tovin pinned down Phillips' son, Eric, who said his father lost the ring in the river while boating with his future wife, Nancy.
As fate would have it, Phillips has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
"It's especially unbelievable [to find the ring] at this time in his life," Nancy Phillips told the Post-Courier.
Last weekend, Robert Phillips was rushed into brain surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina, CNN reported. But while in recovery a few days later, Tovin met him to return his lost treasure.
"I was down there fighting strong currents and alligators trying to get you your ring back," Tovin said at the reunion, recorded by CNN. "And I've got it here, and I know this is going to look like I'm proposing to you, so please don't tell my wife, OK?"
The Phillips family was overjoyed.
"No matter how much time he has with us, we'll always have that ring," Eric Phillips told CNN. "And it will always signify a good season of our life and a good memory of our father, and the fact that he got to share in it before he left us."
H/T The Daily Mail