The lost ring of romance that traveled 6,000km to its owner

by Lee Wang
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There is very little as romantic as young love. The best example of young love is two high school sweethearts that believe the whole world is mapped out for them to be happy together. It is only with age comes the cynicism and doubt that can ruin such happy times. At that age all you can see is success and for a lucky few, that is what they get.

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Debra Mckenna was one of those high school sweethearts. She started daying her boyfriend Shawn while in high school and it was one of those relationships that could have been made into a rom-com movie. Shawn first asked Debra out on Valentine’s day. The date went well and after Shawn and Debra decided to take things more seriously he made the big move of giving her his class ring. It was Debra’s most prized possession until she lost it. Debra was shopping at a department store in Portland, Maine when she took off the ring to wash her hands. In her haste, she left the ring behind. Although she returned later, the ring was gone. 

Debra was devastated but this was not enough to get in the way of the incredible couple. They would continue to date through high school and college and a few years after college, Shawn replaced the missing class ring with a wedding ring instead. The couple was happily married for nearly 40 years. Then, in 2017 Shawn passed away after a long battle with cancer. Debra was of course devastated. The man that had been by her side since she was just 16 years old, was gone.

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Then on Valentine’s Day 2020, Debra got a call. Her class ring had been found. While a ring being returned after going missing for 47 years would be remarkable, it was even more remarkable when she found out where the ring was found. Someone who had been walking with a metal detector found the ring eight inches below the soil, in Helsinki Finland, over 6,000 kilometers from where it went missing. 

How the ring had got from Portland to Helsinki is a mystery that will likely never be solved. Debra has an idea though. She says that Shawn didn’t believe in coincidences and says that everything happens for a reason. She firmly believes that Shawn wanted to return the ring to her so that she could remember him and the incredible time they had together. To think that the ring was not only returned on Valentine’s day but that it traveled over 6,000 km to do so does make you wonder if serendipity is real.

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It was a Finnish native who found the ring. Marko Saarinen loves hiking with his metal detector to see what treasures he can find. When he found the ring he saw that it was inscribed with a year, the name of the high school and some initials. He got in contact with Debra’s old high school and they tracked her down easily. Debra, now aged 63, said she burst into tears when they told her the news about her ring.

In a world of negativity, where her husband was taken from her too soon by cancer. In a world where the news is always reporting thefts, murders, and greed, someone stepped forward with an incredible act of kindness. To go to the hassle of returning the ring to someone thousands of kilometers away showed what a kind soul Saarinen was. He went to incredible lengths to reunite Debra with her lost ring.

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Whether Shawn or some other form of serendipity was behind the ring’s return or if was just the kind heart of a man from Finland, we will never know. What is clear is that without the good nature of a stranger it could never have happened.

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