SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Sarasota family is giving thanks on this Thanksgiving for the kindness of strangers.
They lost a precious heirloom and a small army of volunteers on Facebook helped to track it down.
Barbara Prisco’s ring has gone through quite a journey.
“It represents the strength of our family,” said Barbara.
Her great-grandmother brought it from Germany in the 1890s. Other generations over the decades have added stones to it.
“When she passed away, she had left it to my mother, and my mother gave it to me,” she said.
But in late June, Barbara went to downtown Sarasota with her husband for dinner. She briefly took her ring off and placed it on her lap so she could apply lotion to her hands.
She had forgotten it was on her lap when she stepped out of the car. It flung away and she never noticed until over an hour later.
Restaurant staff, area workers and complete strangers helped the family look for it.
“Everybody started looking for this ring and I just said- its gone, it is totally gone, just forget it,” said Barbara.
The family asked local business owners, jewelry stores, pawnshops, the police department and yet nothing turned up.
“I felt horrible,” she recalled. “I wanted to give it to my daughter. I wanted it to continue to get passed down and I was just devastated by the whole thing.”
Her daughter Katelyn Prisco Woodruff didn’t want to give up.
“I was devastated, not so much for me, but for her, I knew how much it meant to my mom,” said Katelyn. “I immediately turned to Facebook.”
She figured a heartfelt post was worth a shot.
“A lot of strangers that I had never met or heard of shared it,” she said.
Within an hour, around 200 people responded to the post.
“Random strangers went to check this street at 7 am the following morning,” she recalled.
Despite everyone’s best efforts, nothing turned up.
“I thought we did all that we could in the beginning,” said Anthony Prisco.
Two months later, they’d virtually lost hope. But then a complete stranger on Facebook did some internet sleuthing and tracked down the ring in Kentucky! Turns out, a man had found it and was looking for the owner!
“I was floored, I actually was floored. I don’t come across people like that anymore,” said Barbara.
Michael Arrington spotted the ring while he was on vacation. He figures he probably spotted it a few minutes after Barbara dropped it.
“I just happened to look down and I thought boy that looks like a ring!” Arrington recalled. “It was so pretty and ornate that my first thought was maybe it’s like a Cubic Zirconia or something”
He took it home to Ashland, Kentucky and confirmed it was a real ring. He embarked on a search in the off chance of finding the owner.
“It seemed like it was a needle in the haystack to me,” he said.
After a journey spanning hundreds of miles, the ring was home.
“Just to help somebody like that, it was just, it was probably the best feeling I’ve ever had, short of my kids being born,” said Arrington.
It goes to show there truly are good people in this world.
“Most people in my opinion would never return it, let alone work so hard and diligently to get it,” said Barbara.
Prisco is thankful to have it back only to one day give it away.
“I’m very happy because I want to see it on [my daughter’s] hand,” said Barbara.