Gail Wilkerson was distraught when she lost two diamond rings given to her by her parents decades ago.
More than their dollar value, Wilkerson, 57, of Golden, Colo., was sentimentally attached to the jewelry, almost never taking them off – until a recent trip to an amusement park.
She removed the rings for safekeeping, wrapping them in tissue and placing them in her purse. According to the Denver Post, when she returned home, Wilkerson accidentally flushed the tissue – with the rings worth an estimated $8,000 – down the toilet.
But Wilkerson’s story has a happy ending. Workers in the North Table Mountain Water and Sanitation District searched diligently for the ring on Aug. 7.
According to the Post, the employees first sent a remote camera into the lines in an attempt to spot the rings. When that failed, they shot 300 gallons of water at high pressure through the lines. A worker climbed into a manhole to search the debris that had been dumped by the water.
He found both rings.
Wilkerson was deeply grateful.
“I just can’t thank those guys enough over there,” she said, in a video on the newspaper’s website. “I mean, they’re the true heroes here. Without them I wouldn’t have these rings right now and my heart would still be broken.”
She wanted to give them a monetary token of her appreciation but they couldn’t accept it, so she’ll find another way to show how much their actions mean to her.
“The seventh of every month I’m going to have a special surprise for them when they get in there to work and I’m going to do that until I use the money up that I was going to give them and I hope they enjoy it because they deserve it,” she added.