STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (WABC) --A lot has changed in Nicole Pagliaro's life in two short years -- she's now a wife and a mother.
Her wedding dress represents the first steps she took into her amazing new world. "I thought I would never see it again," she said.
Pagliaro dropped off the wedding dress two years ago at South Beach Dry Cleaners on Staten Island to have it preserved. But Superstorm Sandy hit -- forcing the Sandy Lane store to close.
"You hold onto hope," she said. "That's why I kept the ticket."
After the storm, in 5 feet of murky water, owner Hector Pacheco found a box with the gleaming white dress inside, but he lost the Pagliaros' contact information in the mess. So he put the dress in the window of his new store in the Arrochar section of Staten Island - hoping someone might see it so that it could find its way back to its owner.
And there it stood for two years.
"People asked me why I kept the dress. (They said) you need to sell it, it's a new store. I said, 'nah, she's going to come back and get it'," said Pacheco.
Sure enough, the Pagliaros took a detour onto McClean Avenue two days ago -- and passed Pacheco's new place.
"I peered over and I saw the dress. I saw the bottom of it ... and I knew it was mine," said Pagliaro.
"She looked over and said, 'that's my dress.' I said, 'no, it's not that place ... She said, 'I know that's my dress,'" said Michael Pagliaro.
She was right.
His wife said she doesn't know if their 18-month-old daughter Mia Grace will want to wear the wedding dress on her big day -- but what a gift for their two-year wedding anniversary.
"He could have sold it. He could have thrown it out, but he said no. He held onto it," said Nicole Pagliaro.