Would you buy an opened box of Q-tips from your local thrift store? If you did, what would you do if you then found eight gold rings embedded with small diamonds and other precious stones, plus a string of pearls hidden inside?
That is the position that Loretta Sims found herself in this past January. While browsing a thrift store in Duncan, BC, Loretta picked up a couple of items, including a box of Q-tips that she planned to use to clean her windows. When at home, she opened the box and found the jewelry carefully secured inside (estimated value: $1800 Cdn).
Believing that someone had put the jewels there for safe keeping, and had accidentally placed the box in a pile of donation items, Loretta promptly returned the Q-tips box, with all the jewelry, back to the thrift store.
The Q-tips box had been part of a larger donation from the estate of a woman who had recently passed away. A relative had come from out-of-the-country to help with the estate, donated the items and had reportedly already left the area. No name or contact details had been given.
As the thrift store is run by a Hospital Auxiliary, Loretta then donated the jewelry to the store. Her belief is that she was meant to find the jewelry, but not to keep it. The Managing Director of The Auxiliary has confirmed that the jewelry will be sold to raise money for much needed medical equipment for patient care.
It is inspiring that every day there are people like Loretta quietly making noble choices. I would have liked to have read that the jewelry had been reunited with the family of the original owner, and appreciate the media coverage that this story received just in case. I am also inspired by the vital community work and fundraising done by local charities, like this Hospital Auxiliary.
This simple incident teaches many important lessons.
1) Be careful where you store items that are dear to you.
2) If you do hide your valuables in an obscure place, let someone you trust know how to find them.
3) If donating items for an estate, or even donating multiple items of your own, leave your contact details. (Some donation stores offer tax receipts).
4) Most importantly, with so many temptations surrounding the decisions that we make each day, ask yourself what legacy you would like to leave. Would you like to be the lucky person who found $1800 worth of jewelry? Or would you like to be the person who found that jewelry, sought to find the owner, and then donated the jewelry so that it could benefit the larger community?