PHOENIX – Just a case of plumb luck.
It took a plumber to retrieve a woman's 7-carat diamond ring after city workers failed in efforts to flush the gem out of the pipes of a restaurant toilet.
The $70,000 wedding ring fell from Allison Berry's hand when she flushed the toilet in the restroom of the Black Bear Diner on Jan. 14, the plumber said. The ring plopped in and the water whisked it away, said Elena Castelar, the restaurant's shift manager.
City workers opened a pipe outside the restaurant and continuously flushed the toilet, hoping to push the ring out to the opening. When that didn't work, the city called the office in suburban Tempe of Mr. Rooter, a plumbing services franchise based in Waco, Texas.
"This is going to be like dredging for a treasure chest in the ocean," Mike Roberts, general manager of Mr. Rooter, said at the time.
Roberts guided a tiny video camera into the pipe with an infrared light attached. He eventually spotted the ring just 3 feet down and 5 feet over from where it was flushed.
Then it took an hour-and-a-half of jackhammering and pipe removal before Roberts and a technician could recover the ring, eight hours after it fell in the toilet.
"They always say diamonds are a girl's best friend. In this case, a plumber is a girl's best friend," Roberts said. "She was just so excited, she had tears in her eyes. She gave us a hug and said 'Thank you so much."'
The Mr. Rooter bill came to $5,200 and the city's bill was $1,000.
Berry, of Eureka, Calif., and her husband also tipped Roberts and the technician $400 each and gave $200 to a diner employee for staying late.