A story with a ring to it...
There are times when going the extra mile at work causes stress.
And then there's real stress – such as losing an important piece of jewelry at the same time.
Last week, Algona Publishing had a situation develop that required staff in the building to do some extra work to help get the Reminder out the door. It involved removing a part of the paper and replacing it with another. All of the work had to be done by hand, and it was a long, arduous process.
Lyndsey Fowler, who has been with Algona Publishing for a little more than two years, and now works in advertising sales, was helping. And then she realized that she was missing something.
"I was grabbing bag four or five out of eight to 10 bags of bundles for the Emmetsburg Post Office when I felt that I didn't have it on.
What was "it?"
"My boyfriend of over seven years, Eric Weber, surprised and gave me the ring at the stroke of midnight on New Year's 2012-2013. I guess you could call it a promise ring, but this ring's importance is so much more than that to me," Fowler explained.
"My initial reaction was, don't panic – maybe you forgot to put it on this morning. So I finished the bag that I was working on and then told Shirelle (Aanonson) I would be right back, that I was going to run home and make sure that I didn't put my ring on this morning and was hoping that it would be sitting there waiting for me at home – which it wasn't."
Fowler returned to work and asked co-worker Kelley Helmers "if had been wearing her ring that morning," to which Helmers said, "Yes, I know that you were, because you were talking with your hands."
The search at the office was underway.
"Shirelle and I looked in every single folded insert that I had taken out of the Reminders that I had scrunched up and thrown in a garbage bin. We looked under the table that I had been working at, all over the floors. I also looked at my desk and under my desk. Everyone put in their efforts into searching, basically everywhere in the office, which was extremely heartwarming," Fowler said.
It was all to no avail.
"I had totally given up! I came back from lunch with slumped shoulders and told a hopeful Nancy (Steburg) and Kelley that I still hadn't found it. I also told Nancy that I had planned on staying after we closed so I could look in the back room more closely."
Meanwhile, at the Emmetsburg Post Office, Cindy Iwen decided to help some of the rural mail carriers by emptying a mail bag and putting Reminders on a cart.
"I was doing something I shouldn't have been, and when I dumped the bag upside down, a ring fell out. I figured there was a 50-50 chance that it belonged to someone from Algona (Publishing), so I called to see if anyone had lost one."
Fowler was on a sales telephone call at the Algona Publishing office when another staff member, Alicia Thompson, received the phone call from Iwen, who lives in Cylinder. Iwen waited on hold and then was able to talk to Fowler.
"Words will never describe how it felt to get that phone call from Cindy, asking if anyone here was missing a ring! Things like that just don't happen – by that I mean miracles!
"I already knew that I loved this ring and planned on keeping it forever. But when I was faced with the realization that I wasn't going to ever see it or wear it again and how awful that felt – only to have the whole situation flipped on its ear and be told that I actually was, in fact, going to see it and wear it again, was the best feeling ever!"
Iwen said, "It was luck all the way around. If I hadn't turned the bag upside down, if I hadn't heard the ring fall out, if the ring had bounced under the cart where I couldn't see it..."
Fowler met Iwen at Cylinder after working hours to retrieve the ring. The two shared a selfie. And as for taking care of the ring going forward?
"I went to Merle Norman the next morning and had it sized to ensure that I don't have this happen to me ever again!" Fowler said.