NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Call it luck, faith, the power of prayer or the reach of Facebook, less than 17 hours after Cindy Gelormini posted on Facebook about losing a cherished necklace, it was back in her hands.
She lost the necklace, a silver chain with a disk of spun blue glass containing her son Robbie’s ashes, on Saturday, Feb. 23. Gelormini, a realtor, said she spent the day at a church conference in Cranford, but during a dinner time break “quickly shot up to Route 22 in Union and went to Target for pillows and Home Depot for paint” for an open house she was holding the next day. Errands finished, she drove back to the conference where she stayed until about 11 p.m.
When she returned home and started to change clothes, “I realized my necklace was gone … and I panicked,” she said. Before any more time passed, she called her friends who were still cleaning up at the conference and told them it was missing. “I knew I had it on at lunch because someone commented on it,” so she had an idea of when and where it disappeared. Her friends “searched everything” and used “flashlights in the rain at midnight to check the parking lot. They all just started praying that I would find it,” Gelormini said.
“Around 11:30 p.m., I posted on town Facebook pages,” she said.
A realtor with Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty in Short Hills, Gelormini, who is also known as The Paint Divia, said, “I am a member of all the different town pages on Facebook,” and, while posting, “I thought, I know this is a long shot,” but it was about all she could do at that hour. She posted on town pages in Westfield, Cranford, New Providence and Berkeley Heights and hoped and prayed for the best.
Her concern was, “If anybody sees it, they will just think it’s a pretty piece of glass,” and won’t realize it contains Robbie’s ashes. “I had just lost my son a year ago, it felt like I lost him all over again and now I’m never gong to see it or him again,” she said.
On Sunday, she called the managers of Home Depot and Target, and she wasn’t the only one to alert the managers. Gelormini later learned a Target employee sent a photo of the necklace she saw in one of the Facebook posts and asked the manager to alert all the employees.
About 11:30, Gelormini returned to Target, where she ran into a woman “who saw me looking under racks and asked if I was looking for a necklace. When I said, ‘Yes,’ the woman said she was from Berkeley Heights and she and her daughter were going to both stores and planned to look for the necklace themselves.
Later, Gelormini ran into the pair in Home Depot and “they asked where I parked so they could check” in the parking lot.
Gelormini ran out of time for checking and went to her open house. She said she checked her emails and found one “from a guy Vincent, who said ‘I think I found your necklace.’ I was stunned and at first thought this might be a stunt,” but she called him and he wasn’t kidding.
Gelormini said Vincent Scrudato, who lives in Bellville, told her he met a friend at Starbucks that morning who asked him, “’What are you doing today’ and, when he said he had to go to Home Depot, showed him the Facebook post then said, ‘You are good at finding things, so keep your eye out for this.’” That’s exactly what he did and Gelormini said Scrudato told her “When I pulled into a parking spot, I looked in the mirror and there it was, behind me in the parking space.”
She and her husband Robert took a drive and met Scrudato at the Sherwin Williams store on Route 22 in Springfield and “Vincent had the necklace in an envelope, but the glass was in four pieces,” Gelormini said.
A friend who does glass work and has a kiln in her home has offered to fuse the glass together again, so it will once again be whole, said Gelormini.
That isn’t the end of the story. On Sunday evening, a CBS News reporter reached out to Gelormini on. about doing a story on how the return of the necklace. “She pitched it yesterday and they loved the story,” Gelormini said.
At 6 p.m. on Monday Scrudato, reporter Jessica Layton, and Gelormini met in the Home Depot parking lot, where they filmed a segment which was supposed to air on the 11:00 p.m. news on Tuesday, Feb. 26.
Those who followed the story on Facebook probably realize Gelormini’s posts originated from the “Robbie and Me: Autism Reality,” Facebook page Gelormini manages. The page includes episodes from a video blog she kept for four years on Robbie.
Robbie, who died on Nov. 7, 2017, had Severe Autism and suffered from seizures. He lived at a group home in Summit and one of the family’s regular routines was to “pick him up on Sundays from the group home and take him for rides in the car, something Robbie loved to do. After we got to Sherwin Williams, my husband said, ‘Look at that, we picked Robbie up again on a Sunday and here we are taking him for a ride in a car again,’” Gelormini said.
Through the Facebook page and Video Blog on YouTube Gelormini has reached thousands of people across the world. Within two hours of posting the message about the lost necklace, 1,600 people had shared the post. She said her dream is to build group homes for adults with autism, but it’s on the back burner for now.
“Through our videos, we hear from people all over the world,” said Gelormini, people who have said “Robbie is just like our son,” or who have decided to become a doctor to work in the autism field, or lost their fear of people with autism and more. Gelormini said her husband summed up Robbie’s influence, “Never has anybody said so much without saying a word.”