I’ve been a metal-detecting enthusiast since 1976. You could say I have developed a keen ‘eye’ for lost jewelry items, sometimes spotting missing rings in advance of my metal detector’s coil. When this happens it creates a conundrum. Does it count as a legitimate find since my eyes saw the target first and not my detector? There are metal-detecting purists out there who might cry fowl at the thought. But hear me out.
Harnessing electronic wizardry with the intent to peer into the realm of the unseen and to ferret out hidden treasures from their hiding places is what makes metal detecting such a delightful hobby. Whether a search is on land, in snow, in lakes or in pounding ocean surfs, the first glimmer of gold causes one’s heart to skip a beat. But there is another thrill that takes this hobby to a whole different level, a higher level if you please—e.g., returning lost items to their owners! At its core, this is what makes The Ring Finders such a unique service.
A case in point is my latest ‘ring’ find.
Last night my metal-detecting eyes spied a fully loaded key ring splayed out on the road in the middle of a busy intersection in Elm Grove, Wisconsin. I thought to myself, “Someone is surely going to panic when they discover all those keys missing! I’d sure hate to be in their shoes.” Then my Ring Finder instincts kicked in. I managed to get my vehicle off to the side of the road and then when it was safe, I darted out into the intersection, grabbed the key ring and scrambled back to my car with my treasure in hand… and my body intact.
Upon closer examination, the only piece identification I could see was a small bar-coded rewards tag from the automotive parts company, O’Reilly’s. So I went online, found a local O’Reilly’s store and rang its office. ‘Joe,’ answered. When I explained my strange circumstances he asked for the tag number, promising he would telephone the owner. Unfortunately the phone listing was no longer in service. But there was one remaining hope; Joe texted me the owner’s name and email address connected to the tag. I took a photo of the key ring and emailed it to one, Chris Paulino and waited for a response. I didn’t have to wait long.
My cell phone rang about five minutes later. It was Chris. And yes, he was the surprised but overjoyed owner! We arranged to meet the next morning at construction site where he worked. There the key ring with all its keys and O’Reilly Rewards tag was safely returned. Mission accomplished!
You know, whether the lost keys were detected by a machine or by keen eyes, the end result was the return of a precious item to its rightful owner. In my book of smiles, the recovery and return of this ring of keys is at least deserving of an honorable mention. And kudos to a very cooperative Joe at O’Reilly’s; his help made all the difference.