Homeless man returns mistakenly donated diamond ring returned to B.C. woman

NANAIMO, B.C. — A cherished diamond ring has been returned to a woman in British Columbia, thanks to the dogged work of a homeless man on Vancouver Island.

Trinda Gajek was visiting Nanaimo last week when she came across a young man who she said “wasn’t looking so good” and offered him some cash.

She emptied the zippered change pocket of her wallet and gave everything inside to the man, forgetting the contents included a beloved piece of jewelry — a “good mother ring” that her now-grown children helped her buy when they were in high school.

The next day, the Salt Spring Island resident realized her mistake and turned to Facebook, hoping someone might be able to track down the piece.

Gajek said her exchange with the young man left her feeling hopeful she might be reunited with the ring, a thin band with baguette, or rectangular, diamonds across the top.

“He was a very polite young fellow, very appreciative. And I really did feel that if he could find me, he would return the ring to me. I just had a really good feeling about him,” she said in an interview.

Media caught wind of the story, including a Nanaimo-based television reporter who talked to homeless people in the area about the missing jewelry.

That’s when a homeless man named Raymond Ahlstrom took it upon himself to find the bauble, Gajek said.

“He totally took on my cause. He did not need to do that,” she said. “He made it his mission to go out into his community and get my ring back.”

Gajek said Ahlstrom spoke to a number of people living on the street and eventually tracked down the young man she had given the money to. She said he found that the young man had placed the ring in his water bottle for safe keeping and was happy to turn it over.

Gajek and Ahlstrom later met up in Nanaimo, where he returned the jewelry and she gave him a cash reward. She plans to track down the young man who kept it safe and give him a cash reward as well.

“The ring really could have ended up anywhere,” she said. “I’m thrilled to have it back.”

The community has embraced the story’s happy ending, too, Gajek said. Local businesses have stepped up to help Ahlstrom and a Vancouver-area jeweller has offered to repair some damage to the jewelry.

“I think everybody’s kind of paid it forward as this positive spirit Christmas story,” Gajek said. “It was just a really nice way to move into the Christmas season, for sure.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lack of nurses stressing Red Deer hospital staff, says union

‘We don’t have enough nurses to do the work that’s required’

Reports of horse fever confirmed in central Alberta

Alberta horse owners are on the alert for the spread of a… Continue reading

Alberta’s disaster risk assessment plan in poor shape, says auditor

Disaster costs have greatly expanded since 2003

Student invokes bear to represent Indigenous strength

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools project

Recovery plan inspires confidence but Canadians like working from home for now: Poll

Fear of a worse second wave may explain why workers want to work from home

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Charity Checkstop returns to Red Deer this weekend

Event goes Oct. 3 from 9:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

CP Holiday Train cancelled this year; virtual concert to be held in lieu of event

Canadian Pacific will still donate to local food banks in its network and host a virtual concert.

Wetaskiwin residents walk 376 km for charity

Gary Mason and Tracey Paluck raised $10,000 for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada

David Marsden: Molly Banister extension must be kept

‘It would be a mistake to take a sensible response to future residential development off the table’

Toronto Blue Jays won’t pitch ace Ryu in playoff opener against Rays

Toronto grabbed eighth playoff spot with a record of 32-28

The only debate moderator to return, Fox’s Wallace preps

Known as methodical, even-tempered and never showy

Steve Harvey talks show revival on Facebook Watch, NBC split

Launches new talk show ‘Steve on Watch’

Most Read