The romantic magic of McGillin’s Olde Ale House saves the day for a couple who lost their engagement ring
A engagement ring gets lost in a crowded bar. Will true love prevail? At McGillin's, they'll more than drink to that.
On Dec. 1, engaged couple Olivia Schanz and Jensen Galvis headed out for a night at McGillin’s Olde Ale House to toast some big news.
Schanz and Galvis are medical residents at Temple University Hospital, and they’d just learned they’d both landed pulmonary critical-care fellowships at the hospital. Plus, in a few days they would finally be headed to Mexico for the pandemic-postponed nuptials of dear friends.
So there was much to celebrate.
Toward the end of the evening, one of their fellow revelers asked to see Schanz’s engagement ring. That’s when Schanz realized the ring — a 14K gold, one-carat diamond stunner, which had been on her finger when she arrived at the pub — was gone.
“I was like, “Oh my gosh!’” said Schanz, 31.
“We were frantic,” said fiance Galvis, 29. “We looked everywhere.”
But the ring was nowhere to be found in the bar. Not that night, and not the next day, when Galvis returned to scour the premises once again. Pub co-owner Christopher Mullins Jr. assured the dejected Galvis that the staff would keep looking.
“He said, ‘Stranger things have happened. You’d be surprised at the things that are found later,’” the groom-to-be recalled.
But the kind words were of little comfort.
“We were devastated,” Galvis said. All engagement rings are special, but the couple, who live in Fishtown, designed this one together. They worked extra shifts and pooled their money to pay for it.
Little did they know that McGillin’s, which opened in 1860 and is Center City’s longest continuously operating tavern, has a long, storied history of making romantic magic happen. And this situation would provide no exception.
On Dec. 5, while Schanz and Galvis were in Mexico for their friends’ wedding, Galvis’ cell phone rang.
“I saw it was McGillin’s and my heart dropped,” Galvis said. ”I thought, ‘What else could they be calling about?’”
He learned that McGillin hostess Yina Torres Blacio, while getting ready for her shift, was giving the ladies’ room sinks a once-over when she saw something shiny nestled in one of the drains and fished it out. It was a ring.
McGillin’s gets about 20 calls a week for lost items — they have a box for lost phones — and most of the time his staff is able to return the misplaced property to owners, he said.
“If you lost it here, chances are you’re going to find it,” said Mullins, who co-owns the pub with his parents, Christopher Sr. and Mary Ellen Mullins, and is the third generation of his family to run the place. (Before that, it was owned by three generations of the McGillin family, starting with William McGillin of County Tyrone, Ireland.)
But something like a lost engagement would certainly merit extra attention. McGillin’s has been a place where love blossoms for couples for as long as anyone can remember, said Mullins.
“It’s a Friday night, go to McGillin’s. After work, go to McGillin’s. It’s just a place where you can let your hair down and relax — and that’s when that spark ignites,” he said.
Indeed, the pub keeps a guestbook of stories — from over 100 couples, and always growing — who found love at the pub. Then there are all the bachelor and bachelorette parties that have been held there, the anniversaries that have been celebrated, the wedding proposals planned, even births that have been toasted — love in all its forms.
One thing is certain: McGillin’s will forevermore have a special place in Galvis’ and Schanz’s hearts.
“Everyone from start to finish was so supportive,” Schanz said. “They could have just blown us off, but they took it so seriously and they felt for us so much.” The couple feels especially indebted to Blacio, the hostess who found their ring. “She’s the real hero of this story.”
Since getting the ring back, they’ve been extra careful. For one thing, it’s now insured. And for another, Schanz said, she won’t wear it again until it’s resized — it was a little loose before — when they pick out their wedding rings, which will be soon.
The couple’s wedding ceremony and reception is set for June 2023 in Massachusetts, where Schanz is from. It will be held at a quaint bed and breakfast, with an outdoor ceremony followed by food and dancing in a converted barn.
But they plan to legally become husband and wife with a simple Friends union, sometime in the next two months. They’ve already gotten the paperwork together and will have two friends witness the nuptials. And they now know just the place to do it:
“It wouldn’t be anywhere else,” said the groom-to-be. “Put it that way.”