FL Couple Who Found Missing Ring To Attend Strangers' Wedding

HOLMES BEACH, FL — When Brittney Delegado, 24, and Donald Carman, 29, got engaged at Holmes Beach in May 2022, it was supposed to be a magical day.

But it quickly went downhill when the couple, visiting from Ohio, lost their engagement ring within minutes of Carman popping the question.

Luckily for them, local Mark and Vicky Mikkelson happened to pass by and jumped in to save the day.

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But the two couples lost contact after that day — though both like to share the stories with friends. When they started recently planning their wedding, Delegado made it her mission to find the Mikkelsons and send them an invitation.

Carman lived in the Sarasota-Bradenton-area earlier in his life and knew the region well. When he and Delegado started dating, he introduced her to Anna Maria Island.

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“We go there a lot for vacation,” she told Patch. “It was one of our first trips together and one of our favorite spots to visit. It’s why he chose to propose there.”

They visited Holmes Beach with friends for their one-year anniversary. Though they’d already talked about getting married one day, she had no idea he planned to propose.

He told her that he hired a photographer to take some nice photos of them together and bought her a new dress.

“I just went with it like, ‘OK, this is cute,’” Delegado said.

The photographer had them wade far into the water out to a sandbar.

“We were pretty far out there and the waves were pretty high around us,” she said. “The photographer told me to look into the sunset and when I turned, (Carman) was down on one knee.”

Delegado immediately said, “Yes,” and they took an engagement photo in the moment; but just as quickly as they got engaged, the ring was gone.

“A wave knocked into my hand. It was a hard hit and the box fell into the water. It was just gone,” she said.

The couple and their friends, joined by others on the beach, started searching the water for it.

“But there was nothing we could do,” she said.

That’s when the Mikkelsons walked by on their near nightly stroll to watch the sunset.

The couple, both deaf, splits their time between their Holmes Beach condo and Wisconsin, and also has a deep love for Anna Maria Island. They met through mutual friends and married eight years ago on Holmes Beach.

“Not far from where they lost their ring,” Mark, who was born deaf, told Patch.

The Mikkelsons didn’t hesitate to offer Delegado and Carman their help.

“We came up to them and Brittney was crying, ‘I lost the ring, I lost the ring,’” Mark said.

Vicky told them, “Well, my husband has a metal detector.”

He’s been an avid fan of not just the outdoors but metal detecting outdoors — particularly along the beach now that he’s a Florida resident — for much of his life.

Though he’s hearing impaired, Mark pairs the frequency of one of his metal detectors with his hearing aid.

“I turn the volume up as high as I can and there’s that ‘beep, beep, beep,’” he said.

When he’s in the water, though, with the loud waves crashing around him, it can be difficult for him to hear the machine. That’s when he prefers to use his second metal detector, which vibrates.

“Then there’s no question if it went off,” he said.

When they went back to their condo, which is about three blocks away, to get their metal detectors, Delegado tried to relax.

“They were gone for 30 minutes. I didn’t know if they were really coming back,” she said. “I tried to not think about it. The sun was about to go down.”

They eventually returned to the beach and Mark got into the water about knee high with one of his metal detectors.

“We assumed the ring had been washed away into deeper water,” Vicky told Patch. “He looked but there was nothing, nothing, nothing.”

Then, he searched a batch of seagrass close to where the couple had been standing during their big moment.

“I heard that ‘bing, bing, bing,’ and said, ‘Here it is!’ I used the sand scooper, picked out the ring and washed it off with water,” Mark said. “Shiny, shiny.”

Delegado said, “He found it in five minutes. That’s the moment I finally started to cry.”

The two couples snapped a quick photo together before Delegado and Carman turned to each other in excitement. After they took a few more engagement photos, they turned around and the Mikkelsons were gone.

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“I think they just wanted us to have their moment,” she said.

The two couples have thought about each other in the nearly two years since that moment. Both enjoy telling friends and family about the lost engagement ring.

“It was a wonderful experience. I told my daughter and son, my grandkids,” Mark said.

Delegado said, “We tell people that story all the time.”

As she and Carman started planning a destination wedding, she regretted not getting their contact information and wished she could invite them to their big day.

So, she decided to turn to social media. Posting in an Anna Maria Island Facebook group with nearly 200,000 members, Delegado shared their picture of the two couples and their story hoping someone might point them in the right direction.

It was Vicky who saw the post first.

“That’s us!” she said.

She showed Mark, who commented and Delegado reached out privately by messaging him.

It took her barely two hours to find the couple who saved her engagement.

“It’s definitely a crazy story,” she said.

The Mikkelsons, who wanted to take a vacation anyway later this year, plan to attend the wedding, which will take place in November in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

“We’re so excited and can’t wait for it,” Vicky said.

Her husband added, “I thought for sure we’d never see each other again.”

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