HONOLULU (KHON) — Cliff jumping into the ocean, a Tik Tok video, and a selfie.
Those usually aren’t the recipe for a beautiful love story, but that’s just what happened this past weekend on Hawaii Island when two couples and a photographer struck gold.
Last year Lexi and CJ Jorden-Ames decided to hire a photographer for a cliff-side photoshoot to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. They even took the 30-foot leap into the ocean to get some extra special shots.
“It was a really rough day,” CJ said. “It was probably 3 to 4-foot seas and at that specific location, I don’t know if you really want to get in. But we’re strong swimmers, and we’re adventurers.”
They struggled to get out after swimming for about 20 minutes. When CJ pulled himself onto the lava rocks, he lost his wedding band.
“I reached up on the rock and it literally felt like somebody pulled it right off my finger,” he said.
The couple was devastated.
“They get out of the water, and they just hold each other for like I don’t know how long,” their photographer Jamie Ronning said. “I was crying. I cannot emphasize how sad of a moment it was.”
They searched for over a month — even using a metal detector to no avail. Combing through social media didn’t work either until another couple took the same plunge.
“Just a normal day in the ocean and I decided to jump one of the cliffs down there,” Big Island resident Ryan Priest said. “When I was climbing out of the ocean I noticed that there was a ring in the lava rocks.”
Over a year passed by with no luck, but the Big Island is a small community.
Just last week, Ronning decided to download Tik Tok. Despite not being fond of the app, Ronning found herself perusing videos on Ryan and Corrine’s photography page. She came across something she recognized.
“I thought there’s no possible way that this could be the ring. Sure enough, I reached out,” Ronning said.
After confirming that it was the same ring, Ronning called Lexi. She was so overwhelmed with emotion that she asked her boss to go home early. She formulated a plan to surprise her husband.
“We were already going to the beach after I got out of work,” Lexi said. “So I just kind of like was I got out of work early, and I have a surprise for you.”
She orchestrated a meeting with Ryan and Corinne on the beach.
“We looked at a photo of them so we knew what they looked like,” Ryan said. “When we saw them walking along the beach I started to get my phone out. I started to take selfies of Corinne and I. After taking some selfies they were walking past, and I go excuse me I’m really bad at taking selfies do you mind taking a photo of us at this beautiful ocean?”
Once CJ finished taking the pictures, Ryan reached down and told CJ that he had dropped something. While grabbing a hand full of sand, Ryan revealed the lost ring. CJ in disbelief wrapped his arms around Ryan for a big hug.
“Honestly it just worked out perfect. Some Hawaii-style perfect aloha,” Lexi said.
CJ and Lexi say that they purchased other rings to replace their lost original, but none of them fit as well. They believe it was meant to be, and a reference that people can make good of often-maligned social media platforms.
“It goes to show just that there is so much good with social media,” Corinne said.