Lead TSA Officer at JFK returns diamond lost at checkpoint

Monday, July 26, 2021
Missing diamond photo

The Durranis were ticketed to fly out of John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) for their pandemic-delayed honeymoon to Guam and after passing through the checkpoint, the Flushing, New York couple decided some coffee was needed. But when they got to the coffee shop, the new bride shouted when she realized her diamond was missing from her engagement ring.

“My wife was crying hysterically as we did not know what happened, nor did we know how to approach the situation,” Amir Khan Durrani wrote in an email to TSA.

LTSO Killian photo
Lead TSA Officer John Killian spotted a lost diamond at the checkpoint. (Photo courtesy of TSA JFK)

He raced back to the checkpoint and alerted the TSA officers. “Everyone was extremely kind and helped me as much as they could to locate the lost diamond,” he said. “I told them that I knew this was not their job” to help find a lost diamond, although “everyone present helped look for the diamond to no avail,” he recalled.

When the Durranis landed, there was a text message and voicemail from TSA Supervisory Officer Michele Lee informing them that TSA believed the diamond had been located. The Durranis sent a photo of the diamond it matched the diamond found at the checkpoint.   

Lead TSA Officer John Killian returned from a break about five hours after the diamond was reported missing. He was standing at the supervisory podium when he glanced toward the checkpoint line to get a sense of how busy it was. “That’s when I spotted the sparkle and thought to myself, ‘No way that could really be it.’ I walked over and picked it up.” The stone was on the floor between the metal detector and the X-ray machine. “The shine caught my eye. I was like, ‘Wow, I just found this diamond!’”

“Our trip went from a chaotic moment to one at peace,”  Durrani wrote in an email thanking the JFK TSA team for their efforts in locating and returning the diamond. “I would like to commend everyone and their efforts for finding our diamond and safekeeping it before our return back to New York. I want to mention deep down in my heart, that this moment put us in relief. I hope everyone understands how much this meant to my wife and me.”

Durrani’s note continued, “Thank you so much to all the staff present and especially to Officer John Killian. I might not ever meet you, but you had an impact on us at that moment and I will never forget it. I wish you all the best for your efforts and honesty.”

When the couple returned from their trip, they connected with TSA Manager Mishane Henry. “Before I handed over the diamond, I asked them to show me the ring to make sure that I could confirm handing it over to the right couple,” she said. “It was a match.”

“This is a fine example of the integrity of our workforce here at JFK Airport,” said Federal Security Director John Bambury. “I know that it is always rewarding when our team is able to reunite a passenger with something that they’ve left behind or lost at the checkpoint. We frequently return a jacket, a Teddy bear or a set of keys that have been left at one of our checkpoints, but returning a lost diamond will certainly be one we will always remember.”