In a crazy story made possible with the help of social media, a priceless family heirloom has been returned to its rightful owner more than 50 years after it went missing.
In 1966, Sandy Morison went surfing in Waikiki, Hawaii while wearing a 14-Karat-gold cross he had taken out of his mother’s jewelry box with his father’s name, Alexander Morison, on it. Somewhere along the line, the cross fell off and settled at the bottom of the ocean just off the coast of Waikiki.
Fast forward to May when Waikiki resident Jon Abila was snorkeling in those very same waters, hoping to stumble across a buried treasure, which is exactly what happened.
“I glanced across a shiny object under the coral and I looked back and saw this gold object,” recalls Abila. “So I went down and went to retrieve it and plucked it out of the reef.”
Abila saw the name Alexander Morison on it and immediately wanted to find him. He put pictures of the cross on the Stolen Stuff Hawaii Facebook page, hoping someone would recognize it. A few days later, Sandy found the pictures and reached out.
“There was a picture and I just fell apart,” says Sandy. “I was overwhelmed. I was so emotional I couldn’t even believe it.”
Instead of mailing the cross to him, Stolen Stuff Hawaii’s creator, Michael Kitchens, started a GoFundMe page to raise the money necessary to bring Sandy and his wife to Hawaii. When Sandy made it to Hawaii earlier this week, Abila was there to hand him the cross.
“Thank you, man, thank you from my heart, man,” Sandy said to Abila as the two men embraced. “You’re such an awesome person, I can’t believe you even found it in the first place.”
Abila was happy to return the heirloom, saying he would hope someone would have done the same for him. To say thanks, Sandy gave Abila a framed painting of a shoreline that his sister created.
Sandy says he’ll never wear the chain again. Instead, he’ll put it in a glass case and put it next to a picture of his late father. He and Abila are also planning to stay in touch.
“I’m so proud that I got the cross back,” said Abila. “It just makes me proud of myself that he’s happy and I’m happy. Now we’re friends forever.”