"Can You Find My Ring, Honey?"

Posted 11/16/03

By James Searcy

It was October 1983 and actress Nanette Fabray and an escort were traveling LAX/STL/IND on one of our 1011s, when at some point on the LAX/STL leg she dropped her family heirloom ring into the toilet of the First Class lavatory.

The captain relayed a request to STL to dump the lav. tank on the ramp and retrieve the ring. STL refused, and since I was running the "honey" truck at IND that night, my supervisor asked if I would do the nasty deed and retrieve it. It really wasn’t a big deal as such requests happened all the time. But I did ask for one condition – I wanted her to be down on the ramp with me to watch, so if we didn’t find it she would know we hadn’t stolen it.

It was cold, windy and spitting snow when she and her escort and various other fools watched me dump about 15 gallons of "honey" on the ramp. Ramp serviceman Bob Arthur and I carefully went through the mess using flashlights and screw drivers. There was great relief when Bob quickly found it and handed it to me, holding a paper towel to wipe it off. I gave Ms. Fabray the ring, and her escort gave Bob and I $25 each.

The next day, we heard her being interviewed by a local radio station and she told the whole story relating how grateful she was to TWA and the people at Indy. Well, Associated Press picked up the story and it quickly spread all across the nation. Soon, my out-of-state friends started calling to say they had seen the story of my "Honey Heroics" in their local papers

About a month later Bob and I got a hand-written note from her thanking us once more, saying we had gone "above and beyond the call of duty." Perhaps we did, but I’ve kept that note all these years as a classic example of just another routine service from the best station on the system.

Jim Searcy (1966-1989) worked as a ramp serviceman and aircraft fueler at IND and STL. 

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