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Old 02-11-2009, 01:43 PM
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Happy Ending - for a Change of Pace

A Ring, a Grate and Con Ed to the Rescue
By Sam Roberts
Until last weekend, Jean J. Hsu had little fondness for Con Edison. She was especially peeved to discover that the rent bill for the new apartment she shares in Hell’s Kitchen with a roommate did not include heat and hot water. This is also her year of bad luck, according to the Chinese calendar. All that was turned upside-down last weekend.

Ms. Hsu, 23, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, works in product development for Macy’s merchandising group designing “weekend bottoms” for a private label. Just after midnight on Friday night, she went to see “He’s Just Not That Into You” at a movie theater on West 42nd Street. She was wearing her engraved, gold class ring, which she had lost once before.

She recounted her Times Square adventure on her blog, Essential Luxuries. Con Ed confirms the details and swears that she is not related to any employee of the company. Here, on the premise that no good deed should go unpublished, are edited excerpts:

I just had the most ASTONISHING 12 hours of my life. Let me recount for you now:

LOCATION: Right outside of the Regal Cinemas on 42nd street btwn 7th and 8th avenue.

12:00am: Walk out of the movie theater after watching He’s Just Not That Into You.

12:10am: Joke around with friend outside movie theater and slap him on the arm.

12:11am: Class ring (notorious for being a little bit too loose) FLIES OFF my pinkie finger, rolls down the sidewalk, and FALLS DOWN A GRATE.

12:12-12:45am: A lot of freaking out and shining lights down the grate occur during this period of time. Call 311. They take down my information and tell me that the Department of Environmental Protection will call me tomorrow to help me with my situation.

12:46am: Look into the grate one last time before losing hope and accepting the fact that I will never see my class ring ever again.

1:30am: Go to sleep, lamenting the loss of my class ring.

7:44am: Phone rings and wakes me up. It is the Department of Environmental Protection! They schedule an appointment to meet me at the grate at 9:30 am. I’m amazed someone even called me.

9:40am: Truck for Department of Environmental Protection shows up - they aren’t even that late!! Very friendly worker comes out, takes one look at the grate, gives me a sympathetic look and says that this isn’t the DEP’s grate and that it is owned by the MTA.

9:50am: Go into MTA station and ask the MTA station agent if I can speak with an MTA station manager.

9:51-10:15am: MTA station agent works very hard; multitasks being on the phone, distributing tickets, and dealing with obnoxious clients; and finally reaches the MTA station manager. I am handed the phone and the manager tells me that he will have to get a crew out to me, but because it is the weekend, he has no idea if and when a crew will be able to come and help me. There is no ETA. He said they would be in touch.

10:16am: I give up hope and walk back home, passing by Amy’s Bread on the way home for a sticky bun.

10:30am: Get home and tell my roommate about my unsuccessful attempt at retrieving my ring.

10:35am: Get a call from the MTA saying that a crew will be there at 11am!!!! WOW, what a response time. I run out of the house.

11am: Meet the crew in their New York City Transit truck and bring them over to grate. They immediately look at it and say that it is not an MTA grate. It is a Con-Edison grate.

11:01-11:15am: MTA crew decides to pry open the grate anyway, shine some flashlights down there, I point out the ring to them, and they claim that if I am not 100% sure if that is my ring or not, than they cannot go down there and get it. I understand.

11:15-11:40am: I get on the phone with Con-Edison and explain the situation. It takes a while for the whole process but the representative is very nice and requests for a special technician to be sent to the location. She doesn’t know the ETA and suspects that because it is a weekend, it is unlikely that I will hear from the Con-Ed crew in the near future. So I have to play the waiting game again.

11:40-11:55am: Walk home. This time, walking on the other side of the street as to avoid another dangerous trip by Amy’s Bread.

12:00pm: As soon as I get back to my apartment, I get a call from Con-Edison - they are 10 minutes away!!!! I run out the door to go back and meet them.

12:15pm: Just as I arrive at the grate, Con-Edison is pulling up in their truck.

A wonderful woman named LISA comes out and is smiling and cordial as I explain to her the situation. It IS, in fact, a Con-Edison grate. She puts up one of those yellow barriers, pulls out a ladder, and her partner (a quite large, jolly man) starts walking down the ladder into the depths of the grate. And finds my ring!! In a matter of seconds!!!!!!!!!!

Meanwhile, I am going crazy cheering in the middle of Times Square and screaming love accolades about Con-Edison.

It is absolutely amazing to me 1) The response time of EVERY SINGLE group that I encountered, especially considering that it was a WEEKEND and

2) How WONDERFUL all of the workers were — they were all so friendly and cordial and willing to help. Even the representatives on the phone for 311, MTA, and Con-Edison and

3) I got my ring back within 12 hours of losing it, and barely had to play any waiting game and

4) This occurred, of all places, in TIMES SQUARE, a k a BUSIEST STREET EVER. I cannot stop thinking about the AMAZINGNESS factor of this entire story and

5) I walked a total of 64 blocks and 12 avenues in under 3 hours. It makes you realize that there is still a little hope in this world and that people CAN care about someone else’s lost items and perform their job in a timely and friendly demeanor. I LOVE NEW YORK CITY AND ALL OF ITS RESCUE HEROES.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/11/a-ring-a-grate-and-con-ed-to-the-rescue/?hp

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