ROCK HILL, S.C. -- A fairytale engagement story has come to a happy ending, despite a wicked turn of events.
Daniel Frye had everything set for the perfect proposal for his girlfriend, Lauren Williams. He had planned the surprise to a T for their trip to the Biltmore Estate, where Williams had always dreamed of visiting.
But with their family, friends and a photographer there to witness the magical moment, panic ensued.
"We had only been there 20 minutes until he realized it wasn't in his pocket," Lauren said.
Daniel was horrified when he realized the $5,000 ring had vanished.
"I felt like I was chained to a wall watching someone hurt someone I love," he said. "That's the best way to describe it. I felt so helpless."
The couple says the ring was more than a piece of jewelry. Struggling emotionally from two deployments, Daniel says Lauren saved him in every sense of the word. He saved every dollar to buy the perfect engagement ring and ask her to spend life with him.
"Blood sweat and tears went into that ring," Lauren said. "It was the first thing I bought with my own hard-earned money," Daniel admitted while fighting back tears.
Luckily, fate stepped in.
Lauren woke up Thursday morning to a Facebook message from a woman in Athens, Georgia.
"She said, 'Honey, I think I have your ring -- it's one crazy story,'" Lauren said.
Visitors at the Biltmore must park their car and take a shuttle to the romantic estate's entrance. During the ride, Frye had secretly shown Lauren's friend the ring. But when they arrived, he had leaned down to ask the shuttle driver a question and the ring box had fallen out of his pocket, unnoticed.
After Daniel and Lauren exited the shuttle at the Biltmore, guests boarded and were returned to the parking areas.
One woman, loaded down with shopping bags from the day, was making her way down the aisle to get off the shuttle when a man noticed the ring box.
"She said she had a handful of bags and some guy said 'Hey! You dropped this,'" Lauren explained. "He put the box in one of her bags."
It wasn't until a few days later when the Georgia woman had returned home to Athens that she realized she had the ring.
"She told her kids and they had seen NBC Charlotte's Facebook post about the ring,'" Lauren said.
Daniel immediately hopped in his car and drove to Athens, Georgia to pick up the ring.
"I can't even speak, I can't even believe it, it is a miracle."