Ann Northcott didn’t expect to see her wedding ring again.
The Yakima resident needed to get the ring’s size changed because she lost weight recently, but didn’t have a chance to take it to a jeweler.
“I’ve not been wearing my ring because I knew it was too big,” she said, but decided to put it on when she went on a trip to a Prosser winery for her husband’s company’s holiday party on Dec. 2.
At 10:22 p.m., she posed for a picture with two women. It was the last time she knew she had her wedding ring.
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The group traveled to a Richland hotel for the night, and at 6:30 a.m., she realized the ring was missing.
She searched the hotel room as quietly as she could in hopes she could find it without waking up her husband. After he woke up, she searched again.
“We took off the bedding. We looked in the sink. We looked everywhere,” she said. “All of his coworkers helped; they searched the hallway.”
The ring was irreplaceable after nearly 10 years of marriage, she said. It was valued at $9,900, and Northcott was frantic to find it.
Meanwhile, in A&A Motorcoach’s Pasco lot, a driver was preparing to take the bus out for another function, and asked Vitaliy Danilyuk to clean it quickly.
We took off the bedding. We looked in the sink. We looked everywhere. All of his coworkers helped, they searched the hallway.
Danilyuk, 17, a Chiawana High School student, works part-time cleaning buses. He began sweeping under the seats, and as he pulled the broom back, a gold ring came out.
When he picked it up, he realized it was more than just costume jewelry.
“You always find things like coins and stuff. I found a couple rings before but ... they were fake rings. They’re not worth anything,” he said.
He put the ring in his pocket and continued to clean the bus. At the end of the day, he brought it to his boss, Rick Marple, the general manager for the Pasco branch. He filled out the forms stating that he found it.
Vitaliy was tempted to keep the ring, but a combination of his Christian values and empathy for the people who lost it made him return it, he said.
Marple locked the ring in a cabinet with other valuable items people leave on buses.
Back in Yakima, Northcott despaired about seeing her ring again. She had called the hotel and winery multiple times. She previously called the bus company, and hadn’t received a return call, so she made one more call on Dec. 5.
“I know, I have it right here,” Marple told Northcott.
When she started to explain she lost her wedding ring on a trip to a winery, the general manager responded, “No, you didn’t hear me. I have the ring right here. If you can give me a description of it.”
“I was crying,” Northcott said. “It just blows me away. It’s nice to hear something positive like this, especially for a teenager, it is just pretty cool.”
Marple hired two of Vitaliy’s brothers and a cousin before hiring him, and is hoping to hire his two younger brothers when he leaves for college.
“They’re good people,” Marple said. “This has got to be the most valuable thing that was found (on our buses.)”
Northcott’s husband collected the ring on Saturday, and it’s now back with her.
“I’m trying to think of a way to thank him,” she said.