A North Vancouver woman was reunited with a cherished and valuable piece of jewelry thanks to the rapid response of a teenage neighbour with a metal detector Thursday (Sept. 15).
The problem started when Kelly Robinson was engaged in one of her favourite activities: throwing huge rocks into the water to make splashes for her puppy, a seven-month-old Nova Scotia d uck tolling retriever, to chase. Robinson tossed a rock off the beach at Strathcona Lookout Park near Deep Cove, and was horrified to discover that a ring on her finger had flown off, following the rock on its path into the ocean.
And this wasn’t a mere trinket. The ring is made of gold and diamonds taken from pieces of jewelry her dad had given to her mom, including the main diamond, which came from her mother’s wedding band. Her parents are now divorced, and her mom gave the jewelry to Robinson, who broke it all down and designed a new piece that she has worn every day since it was crafted by a local jeweller.
Robinson fell into an immediate panic when she realized her ring had gone flying off her finger.
“I was immediately just devastated,” she said. She frantically started looking for it, but realized the futility of her task as she scanned the water and scoured the beach, which was filled with rocks and broken shells perfectly suited for swallowing up small pieces of jewelry.
“It was a needle in a haystack.”
She concluded that her best chance at a ring rescue would be a metal detector, and so she raced home and put out a plea on a Deep Cove neighbourhood Facebook page. Eight minutes later, a woman she had never met, Cheryl Atchison, responded to say her 13-year-old son Linden had a metal detector. Seven minutes after that, Cheryl and Linden were pulling up to the beach.
When they arrived, they found Robinson, in a wetsuit with snorkel gear, ready to go to war to find that ring.
“She basically was just panicked,” said Cheryl. “She was just beside herself when we got there.”
But there was some doubt about whether the metal detector would be much help. Robinson said she suspected the ring had gone into the water, but Linden’s detector is not submersible and does not work through water. They talked it over and decided to turn it on anyway, and almost instantly they were rewarded with a miracle “beep.”
Robinson screamed with elation.
“She said, ‘Oh my gosh!’ and I looked down and the ring was right there underneath my metal detector,” said Linden.
It wasn’t as far out in the water as Robinson suspected, but it was mostly buried in beach debris and right at the tide line, in danger of being swallowed up by the sea as the tide came in.
“If you weren’t using a metal detector and you were looking on the beach, you wouldn’t have been able to find it,” said Linden.
“She picked it up, dropped to her knees and almost started crying,” recalled Cheryl. “Her adrenaline was pumping and she was just over the moon. She was hugging everybody and shaking. It was pretty cool.”
Robinson, thrilled with the ending of her saga, wanted to add in that five other neighbours had also responded to her request, offering to help. The reaction from the community turned a scary situation into a life-affirming one for Robinson, who is relatively new to the neighbourhood, having moved to Deep Cove about a year ago.
“Just the feeling of love that I felt in this moment of fear, it was so beautiful,” she said.
“The kindness and the desire to help one another and the neighbourly love that I feel here is really unique and special. And I just feel incredibly blessed and grateful and really excited to continue to give back and participate in the community.”
She’s already got a couple of things planned.
“I’m going to give Linden something nice so that he can feel the reward of helping a stranger,” she said. “And I will switch the finger that I wear my ring on.”