A reason to be thankful

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A woman’s missing heirloom rings are returned by a conscientious employee

By Lisa King

Mary Tingle has a special person to give thanks for this holiday season.

Tingle said was devastated recently when she returned home from shopping and realized she had lost her diamond rings.

Although very valuable, the cash value of the jewelry was not uppermost in her mind. She was concerned about their sentimental value.

“They were my mother's,” she said. “She left them to me after she passed. My dad gave them to me. I've been wearing them for 18 years.”

In a state of despair, Tingle, a retiree who lives in Taylorsville, retraced her steps that day, and left her name and phone number with every business she had visited, including the Goodwill store on Boone Station Road in Shelbyville.

“I was so upset that night,” Tingle said. “Those rings were my mothers; they just couldn't be replaced. I prayed to the Lord and I heard a small, still voice inside me that said, 'Don't worry, you will find them.'”

That night, unknown to Tingle, an assistant manager at Goodwill was straightening racks of clothing when her eye was drawn to something shiny on the floor.

“I don't much about jewelry, but when I picked them up, I thought, 'What pretty rings!'” Renita Baldwin said.

She went then and locked the rings in the office.

The next day, when Baldwin came to work, a coworker, Jacyln Yeary, told her that Tingle had returned to the store and explained what had happened and left her phone number with the manager, Kathy Hagan.

“So I went in the office and called her up and told her that I had her mother's rings,” Baldwin said.

When Tingle heard that she had found her diamond rings and had kept them safe for her, she was overcome with emotion.

“I wanted to do something for her,” Tingle said. “I tried to give her some money to show my gratitude, but she said, 'Oh, no. I'm just glad I found them for you.'”

When Tingle returned to the store to pick up her rings and met Baldwin in person, she was even more overwhelmed, she said.

“When I met her and saw that she was a young girl, I was very surprised,” she said. “I was happy to get my rings back and really glad that losing them led me to meet her. She is a wonderful, caring person.”

Hagan said she is proud of all her employees, because they are all good people. But Baldwin is special, she added.

“She is just a Godsend to me,” she said. “Not only is she good at her job, and she's honest and dependable and just a very sweet girl. Not very many people would do what she did.”

Tingle said the rings were too large for her finger, as she has petite hands and wears a small size.

“So I had tape on them to hold them on my finger,” she said.

So when the rings fell off her finger, they were still taped together.  

“To get both of them back is like a miracle,” she said. “I really did not think I would ever see them again.”

Will she shop at the Goodwill again?

“Definitely,” she said with a smile. “I will be back. You can be sure of that.”