DERRY— What started off as a routine shopping trip to Walmart, nearly turned into disaster for Elaine Hodnett.
The Derry resident was buying cat litter March 4 when she felt something was off.
“Both my wedding and engagement rings were gone,” she said. “It was a feeling of utter, profound devastation.”
But just a half hour later, both rings were back in her possession with the help of an eagle-eyed customer and some Walmart employees. Hodnett estimated the pink sapphire and white diamond rings were valued at $5,000.
“I was just absolutely astonished to get them back,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
When Hodnett, 52, noticed her rings were gone, she went right to the customer service desk to report them missing. After employees told her that nothing had been turned in, she thought all hope was lost.
“I had thought the odds were slim to none I’d ever see them again,” Hodnett said. “I thought they were bound for a pawn shop.”
Hodnett continued shopping, but began kicking herself for something. Hodnett has recently lost a lot of weight and had just finished up a diet class before she headed to Walmart. At the class, the topic of her rings came up.
“We were talking about the fact that our rings were all too loose,” she said. “I was going to make an appointment with the jeweler to get them resized.”
She began to retrace her steps. She dug through the recycling she had just dropped off and walked back to the parking lot looking for the rings.
She went back into the store, did her shopping, then returned to the customer service desk, hoping for the best. While she waited in line, she overheard part of the employees’ conversation.
“I saw the floor manager saying, ‘We have to call her since she was so devastated,’” Hodnett said.