LYNN HAVEN – After saving for three years to pay for a $6,000 diamond engagement ring and marriage band, Corey Todd was looking forward to handing it over to his longtime girlfriend on July 7 when he proposed marriage. He was waiting until she finished her nursing training.
Until then, he was hiding the rings in a pair of dress pants in a closet in a guest room that he didn’t use often.
To his despair, he noticed last week that the pants no longer were in the closet.
His girlfriend, Jacelyn Penton, donated the pants and other clothes from the seldom-used closet because they were cleaning house in preparation for moving out.
Unaware the rings were in the pants pocket, she donated the clothes recently to the Goodwill store in Lynn Haven.
Todd said he couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw the empty closet.
“I was at a loss for words,” Todd said. “My stomach dropped. I didn’t know what happened.”
Todd and Penton went to the store to talk to Goodwill employees about getting the ring back, but the pants couldn’t be found. Todd said he did see some of his other clothes being sold in the store.
He said the manager of the store tried to help them.
“She wrote down info about the ring,” he said.
He said the pants were not on the rack, and the manager of the store told them they couldn’t go in the back of the store to look, but asked employees to go back there and check.
“She was helpful,” Todd said.
Todd and Penton said they hope someone returns the ring if they find it. But Todd said he wasn’t holding out much hope.
“There aren’t too many honest people in the world nowadays,” he said.
Penton said she feels terrible about donating the pants, but added that they came from a closet her boyfriend hardly ever uses.
“We are trying to get rid of things we don’t need,” she said. “I (usually) never go back there. I just know when we moved in he had a whole bunch of clothes he is not wearing and don’t fit any more.”’
She said her boyfriend, who works at Chili’s, is holding up better than she is about the loss of the rings.
“He said he will just have to work harder to get another one,” she said.
Donna Wright, a spokeswoman for Goodwill Industries Inc. Big Bend, said the company is empathetic to the plight of the couple, and associates at the Lynn Haven store are doing everything they can to find the pants.
Based on the description, they likely were put out for sale and sold, she said. She said quality pants usually sell within a couple days.
“The Lynn Haven store is continuing to be on the alert for this,” she said. “All associates are on the lookout for it – the floor crew, everybody at the store. The associates have her phone number so we can call on the off chance it is recovered.
It will go in a safe and we’ll give them a call.”
She said Goodwill employees do not go through the pockets of items before they are put out in the store for sale.
“We don’t have the time because we have so many clothes to hang,” she said.
Wright said there have been happy endings to similar stories at Goodwill stores, and she hopes that will be the case with Todd and Penton.
She said a Goodwill associate in Lynn Haven recently found an iPad in an item of clothing and figured the donor didn’t mean for that to be part of the contribution.
“They set it aside,” Wright said. “The customer came in and said, ‘I didn’t mean to donate that.’ “