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CHICAGO,IL (CBS/WBBM) -- A vacation to Chicago for a family from Tennessee almost ended in heartache this week. That's after a $15,000 wedding ring ended up in a dumpster filled with five tons of trash.

Via Skype Jodi Eastgate could hardly contain her excitement, showing off the wedding ring she feared she might never see again after losing it Sunday at The Drake.

During the hectic checkout is when she noticed it was gone. She rushed back up to her room, thinking she might have knocked the ring into a Cheesecake Factory bag by the bed, but the room had already been cleaned. She says, "As we left for the airport, I was sick. I was sick to my stomach. I had tears on my face."

After getting to Midway, Jodi couldn't bring herself to leave. Her husband and daughter boarded their flight home, and Jodi headed back to the Drake. She says, "I felt like if we could just find the bag."

But that bag was already in the hotel's trash compactor, and couldn't be searched safely until Monday.

Jodi snapped a picture as staff member David Lyons as he went in. After searching for three hours, hope was fading. Lyons says, "She stepped away. She prayed, and she came back and she was like He's telling me it's over there, over there, and sure enough, kept prying, kept prying, and we started finding pieces of everything she said, and I was like 'oh my gosh, we might actually find this thing."

And moments later they did. Jodi says, "I mean, I started jumping. My feet weren't on the ground anymore. Not only me, but he was. He kind of gave an expletive, like 'Oh my gosh.'"

Lyons adds, "Guy pulled it out and said I got it. She said you not playing with me are you. She saw the ring. She pulled it close to her heart, actually put it on."

Jodi says she hasn't taken it off since, and has no plans to. David needs to be nominated for employee of the month, perhaps even the year.

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