Q-tips are kind of like bobby pins and hair ties. They get everywhere and scatter all over the place — until you actually need one, and then they tend to vanish.
They come in ridiculous amounts, too. What in the world could you need 500 of them for? And yet, at the same time, you know at least half of them are going to disappear without ever being used.
One woman in Duncan, British Columbia, recently got more than she bargained for. She was shopping at a thrift store when she noticed a pack of swabs for fifty cents.
She had a window that needed cleaning, so she snapped them up. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure — but that was even more true in Loretta Simms’ case.
After nabbing the box, paying the miniscule fee, and returning home, Simms decided to get to work on her dirty windows and opened the box.
She found far more than a few cotton-padded sticks. Hidden inside the container of unassuming swabs was an entire jewelry collection — all of it authentic.
There were eight rings and a pearl necklace. The rings were set with rubies, diamonds, and emeralds. There was even a diamond engagement ring nestled in the collection.
“They say you can’t find good finds at a thrift shop and I say, ‘Hey, I sure did,'” the surprised woman said.
In all, the collection was appraised at $1,800 — that’s quite a return on investment! However, Simms’ conscience would not let her keep her find.
The fact that the store was the Cowichan Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store played some role in that decision. Simms knew in her heart that the right thing to do would be to return the set.
“I just felt it wasn’t for me,” said Simms. “Meant for me to find and bring back, but not for me.”
The workers were stunned when she showed them what she’d discovered. The shop director was especially surprised.
“I just took it for granted that they were Q-tips and put them out on the shelf,” she said. The revelation was personal, too, since she’s the one who’d given the box of swabs their price tag.
Eventually, a story came out of the finding. It was discovered that the man who’d donated the Q-tips had found them among his sister’s possessions.
She had passed away, and he was tasked with parceling out her belongings. He’d donated the jewelry to the shop, and somehow it had gotten jumbled.
Fortunately for the store and the patients it helps, Simms knew the value of honesty. She also specifically mentioned that she hoped that the set would bring in more money for the good cause.
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