What do you get when you combine Alabama Crimson Tide football, a diamond ring, and some guardian angels? You get the amazing story told to me by Gabriell Darby and Victoria Giattina. It’s a story that reminds us that there are good people in our world.
This is the story of the Missing Diamond.
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It’s November of 2018 and her engagement ring sparkles as she marries the love of her life.
Birmingham’s Gabriell Davis is at the alter marrying Birmingham’s Wesley Darby. She glances at her left hand as Wesley slips on the wedding band. What a combination, what a sight those two rings hold. Oh, how Gabriell loves her husband and the day.
That diamond will stay with her forever.
It’s last Saturday afternoon and Victoria Giattina is busy.
The Alabama-Texas A&M game is a few hours from kickoff, and Bama’s Event Management staff is on the move. The gates open and Victoria is ready. She works the north and northeast spiral gates. As the Bama faithful arrive, Victoria turns into a hostess, an usher, a trouble-shooter, a problem solver.
It’s last Saturday morning and Gabriell and Wesley are kissing their baby boy goodbye.
Wesley’s parents have offered them their Bama game tickets and they decide to go, leaving their one-year-old at home in the safe and loving hands of family.
“Roll Tide,” says Gabriell as she leaves the house.
It’s early Saturday afternoon. Gabriell and Wesley make their way to their seats.
It’s a climb, an adventure getting to section NN row 29 in the east upper deck of Bryant-Denny Stadium. So what if their seats are actually above the skyboxes?
Gabriell and Wesley are closer to Heaven. Heaven that is Alabama football.
It’s last Saturday night and Victoria Giattina’s day is not done.
Another Bama win is in the books but now it’s time for a post-game meeting. Victoria recaps her day — what went right? What went wrong? She’s still ready to help however she can.
Gabriell and Wesley have arrived back home and they head straight to their baby boy.
“52 to 24,” Wesley proudly tells his son. “Another blowout.”
Gabriell smiles and happens to glance at her left hand. Her heart jumps and then sinks.
Her diamond is gone.
The diamond fell out of the ring’s setting. The diamond that she promised would never leave her.
Gabriell and Wesley spring into action, looking everywhere. Under the cushions. In the car. Under the table.
The day has been ruined.
It’s Saturday night and it’s getting late.
Gabriell and Wesley decide to turn in. They need some sleep as it’s been a long day. They will worry about the diamond in the morning.
It’s early Sunday morning and Gabriell decides to call the number. It’s a University Of Alabama Game Day message center. Gabriell doesn’t expect much. After all, it’s a Sunday.
It’s an hour after she makes the call and her phone rings. Really? A return call from UA? On a Sunday?
Gabriell tells the kind caller that she is missing her diamond. Missing what is and always will be a part of her. She hangs up the phone and hopes.
It’s this past Monday morning and Victoria Giattina’s phone rings.
Really? So early? It’s her Event Management boss, Red Leonard. He has a job for Victoria.
He wants her to find a needle in a haystack. A diamond amid 102,000 seats. High above the skyboxes. Somewhere around section NN. “Good luck,” says Red.
Victoria sighs. The sun is up and Victoria is too.
She makes her way to the stadium and takes the elevator to the eighth floor. She knows it’s a walk from there, but Victoria is fit. It wasn’t too long ago that she attended Hewitt-Trussville High School.
It’s a new day for Gabriell and Wesley Darby, but the old pain is back. Worry. Sadness.
Victoria Giattina decides to start from the bottom of section NN. Certainly, if the diamond fell out of the setting, it rolled downward.
Row after row. Nothing.
Seat after seat. Zilch.
“This is impossible,” she thinks. “Finding a diamond at this place?”
Victoria shakes her head as 20 minutes have quickly gone by. Then 30. Then 40. Then frustration.
As Victoria is about to leave, a thought arrives: “How about walking higher, behind row 29? Ya never know!”
It’s getting toward mid-morning and Victoria is losing hope. Oh, how she wanted to find the diamond.
She takes a deep breath and offers a final glance before giving up that hope. Her eyes widen. Her heart pounds. There it sits, staring up at her.
It’s Monday morning and Gabriell’s phone rings.
The voice on the other end is Heaven sent.
“We found your ring,” says the voice. Gabriell nearly falls to the floor.
Her diamond, her life, is back.
It’s today at about 11 a.m. and the voice on my cellphone is giddy.
Victoria Giattina is happy, giggly, excited. She tells me how rewarding it feels to have found the diamond and how happy she is for Gabriell and Wesley.
It’s today about an hour later and the voice on my cell phone is cheerful.
Gabriell Darby is feeling happy and blessed. She tells me how grateful she is to the folks at Bama for going to bat for her. She tells me how thankful she is for her guardian angels. She tells me how content she is knowing that there are good people in our world. People like Victoria Giattina and the hard-working folks on the UA Event Management Team.
People like Ty Pierce of the Bruno Event Team who delivered her the diamond on Monday.
People like Red Leonard, Director Of Athletics Greg Byrne and the kind folks in charge.
People like her Alabama football neighbors.
People who helped find the diamond that will never leave her.
A team effort and a happy ending.
That, my friend, is the story of the Missing Diamond, the diamond that’s Missing No More.
READ THE FULL STORY:Needle in a Haystack: The missing diamond at Bryant-Denny Stadium
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