Katelyn Peckham never loses anything. She swears. She is the most organized person she knows.
But somehow, the 25-year-old Reading woman left her engagement ring on the commuter rail’s Haverhill line yesterday morning on her way to work.
The diamond on the ring was a family heirloom, and the loss sparked a frenzied hunt that included a blast of Facebook messages and tweets from co-workers encouraging others to hunt for the ring.
By a stroke of good luck, a conductor discovered the ring in the train.
Yesterday afternoon, sitting in her office at Conover Tuttle Pace, a North End advertising and public relations firm, Peckham still looked more anxious than relieved, biting her nails and tearing up at the thought of what her family would say if the ring had not been found.
“I was just thinking how disappointed everyone would be in me,’’ Peckham said. “You just don’t lose things like this.’’
Peckham has known her fiancé since third grade, and the two have been dating for eight years. Last May, in the middle of their kitchen, he got down on one knee, popped the question, and held out the ring.
It was exactly what she wanted - silver, with antique detailing, elegant curls carved into the band. Lines of tiny diamonds wrapped around the ring, and smack in the center was the half-carat stone that once belonged to her mother.
“This is the most valuable physical object I have in my life,’’ she said. “And unfortunately, it’s the tiniest.’’
During her morning commute on the 8 a.m. train from Reading, Peckham took off the ring to apply hand sanitizer. When she arrived at her office, she spotted her naked left hand.
“I knew exactly how I’d lost it. I knew right away, and I burst into tears,’’ Peckham said.
She frantically called the commuter rail’s lost and found department, then raced back to North Station.
Running from train to train, tears streaming, she asked conductors and passengers if they had seen the ring.
“I looked like a crazy woman,’’ Peckham said.
As she announced she was looking for a lost diamond engagement ring, women gasped, Peckham recalled One woman in a white coat lay on her stomach to search for the ring under the seats.
Over and over, Peckham told herself: “Somebody will find it. Somebody will find it.’’
But she did not believe it. She was sure it was gone forever.
“There’s so many people that got on and off that train,’’ Peckham said.
Back at the office, Peckham’s co-workers sent out e-mails, tweets, and Facebook messages with a picture of the ring.
In the end, good old-fashioned luck was Peckham’s savior: While doing his usual sweep, conductor Thomas Booth spotted the glittering ring in the aisle.
“I thought it was fake at first,’’ Booth said.
When the train arrived in North Station, Peckham jumped aboard and threw herself on the floor, peering under seats.
Booth, holding up the ring, asked: “Are you looking for this?’’
Peckham burst into tears all over again.
“I felt sick to my stomach when it was over,’’ Peckham said. “It could have been the worst day of my life.’’
After she found the ring, she called her fiancé.
“If you lose it again, I’m taking it back,’’ he told her, laughing.
That will not be a problem, she said: She’s never, ever taking it off again.Martine Powers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @martinepowers.