Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Random Act of Kindness

Today I am happy to present my favorite guest blogger: Pat Hallman

A Random Act of Kindness

The holiday season!  This is the time of year when you hear of people giving to others in random acts of kindness.  Well, we received one and I just needed to share the story.

I’m opening up the blinds in our library/den where the landline phone is kept and the phone rings.  Now, we screen calls on the landline because that number attracts all the callers for insurance, the newspaper and just about anyone selling anything.  The answering machine picks up and I hear “Hi, my name is Bill and I’m looking for Zeb.  I found his class ring at a farm auction and wanted to know if you know him and whether he is missing a class ring?”  Bill begins to leave his phone number and I grab for the phone -  hello, hello.  “Hi”, he says, “Do you know Zeb?”   Yes, he is my son.  “Did he lose his class ring?”  Yes, he did many years ago.  Bill responded, “Well, I went to a farm auction in Colman and it was very muddy.  As I was walking through the farmyard I was looking down to make sure I didn’t slip in the mud.  I spotted a shiny round thing and thought it was a washer or nut and slipped it on my finger and into my pocket.  Didn’t think anything of it.  When I got home and looked at it, I realized it was a class ring.  The name Zeb was on the side of the ring and it was from Sioux Valley HS.  My wife noticed the engraving inside for Zeb Hallman, and we thought we would try and find him.”  I answered - How in the world did you find us from that?  “Well, my wife is good on the Internet - isn’t that the darndest thing?”  Yes, it is!  Bill continued to explain, “She found Zeb’s Facebook page and sent him a message but never heard back.  So, we saw on Facebook that his relatives were Clark and Pat and she did a search for you.  We found your phone number and called to see if you want the ring back.”  Yes, we do!

By this time, I am just stunned.  I don’t know what to make of this and Bill told me that the ring was in excellent condition.  He described the ring and what I could remember of it sounded right.  We exchanged phone numbers and I told Bill that I would get back to him and arrange a time to go out to his farm and retrieve the ring.

Now, for some background information, I texted Zeb that his ring was found and he called me back in disbelief.  Zeb bought the ring in his sophomore year of high school (I had long ago forgotten all this).  The school had the students buy early so they could wear their rings all through high school – school pride and all.  But, Zeb had his ring for one week when he lost it.  He had told us that he lost the ring while swimming with some of the guys at a pond or swimming hole on someone’s farm.  But now we got the truth.  He was partying (yes, drinking beer underage) at a farm in Colman.  At the time, he had been dating a girl, Sarah, from Colman and the farm were the party took place was her friend’s home.  Zeb knew he had lost it there back in 1998, he looked everywhere for it that night, and told his friends if it ever turned up to get in touch with him so he could have it back.  Now, 17 years later, the ring appears!  This story is beginning to seem like a “Lord of the Rings” episode! – my precious! – but I digress.

I called Bill back and arranged a time to meet and he provided directions out to his farm to pick up the ring.  Clark and I drove out there on the same day as the call, that afternoon.  The weather was beautiful, sun shining and I was really anxious to see this ring!  I still could not believe this was happening.  We found the farm and met Bill and his wife Jackie.  Such very nice people.  And sure enough, they had Zeb’s ring.  We talked about how Zeb was dating the Colman girl, how he was at a party (Bill guessed this!) and how he had lost the ring.  We also talked that the ring had been buried in the mud/dirt for 17 years.  How it was found in the farmyard by the driveway where cars, trucks and all kinds of farm machinery had driven over it through the years.  And yet, the ring is perfect. No wear or tear and the stone is not chipped or anything!  Amazing!  Bill found it and he and his wife did the kindest thing possible.  He and Jackie decided to find us (Zeb) and return the ring.  Zeb said to offer them a reward and we did but they turned us down.  Bill said he didn’t do this for a reward and Jackie said that she viewed this as a mystery, an adventure, to try and solve.  We said our “thank you’s” and Merry Christmas.  Jackie asked if Zeb would be home for the holidays and to give him this as a Christmas gift.  I told her he was not coming home due to work but we would make a trip because he had to get this ring.

I have to say I am still reeling over this. I keep looking at that ring, and the enormous kindness of these strangers.  Zeb has said he didn’t get to wear the ring much back in high school but he intends to wear it now.  When I told our daughter about this adventure, she stated “Only in South Dakota are people so nice and kind to do something like this.”  I think she is right, and that’s why we enjoy living here so much.  May a random act of kindness come your way soon OR please pass one on like Bill and Jackie!

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