Got a little story for ya, Ags! And, this one is more of a knee-slapper than a tearjerker.
It all started on June 1, 2013, when I was at the beach in Galveston, laying in the sun and enjoying a handful of delicious beverages. I left the beach just before sunset, heading across the seawall back toward my hotel. As I was getting ready for dinner, I
realized that my Aggie Ring was gone. Instantly, I knew I must have lost it on the beach as I didn’t remember tossing it in a backpack or dropping it in the bathroom. I knew it was gone. The sun was still barely out when I returned to the beach to frantically
comb area after area, knowing all the while that it was gone.
I went to The Association of Former Students’ website, AggieNetwork.com, and immediately filled out the “Lost Aggie Ring” form. I browsed the “Lost and Found” section of Galveston’s Craigslist website for days, and quickly lost hope. Without my Aggie Ring on
my finger, I was incomplete. Since my Aggie Ring was an extension of myself, I decided to order a new Ring. And let me just say, the price of gold was a lot different in 2007 than it is in 2013.
Then I waited. Unlike a simple resize or repair, when an Aggie orders a new Ring, he or she has to meet a particular order deadline and then wait with hundreds of other Aggies for the ceremonious Ring Day, regardless of having already graduated. And I kept
waiting. Friday, Sept. 20, was Ring Day, but I wasn’t able to drive to College Station to pick it up, so I opted to have it shipped to me. My new Aggie Ring was delivered to my office on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 10:30 a.m. I asked a fellow Aggie coworker to present
my Aggie Ring to me, because that’s the “red ass” thing to do. I wore my brand new Ring with a huge smile and an even greater sense of pride.
Come Wednesday, I was still ecstatic about my new Ring, though the day in the office was business as usual with meetings, emails, and for some reason, an unusual phone message. At 10:23 a.m. on Sept. 27, I received a brief voice message from a man in Galveston
who called to say he might have found something that belongs to me.
I nearly fainted. Was somebody messing with me? Was it some sort of cruel joke? I cautiously returned his call, and answering the phone was a man by the name of Jess. Over the phone, Jess didn’t go into too many details on his big find, but he did say he was
driving back up I-45 North that very day to return to his home in the DFW area. I agreed to meet him along his route in order for him to return my Ring to me.
As I drove up I-45 on my lunch break, I kept telling myself that this couldn’t be true. This is too much of a coincidence. I stopped at our rendezvous point, the parking lot of an Office Depot, and anxiously waited. As soon as I met my newest hero and greeted
him with a firm handshake, he handed me the Ring. He didn’t get a chance to say much before I began to pepper him with a million different questions and a million different words of gratitude.
I soon found out that Jess and his buddy, Garren, were in Galveston for a few nights of metal detecting. They were out late into the night when, at about 2 a.m., they hit pay dirt. My Ring was buried nearly 10 inches deep into the sand. Jess told me that it
was the largest ring he had ever found, and that he was surprised that someone hadn’t found it sooner. Garren, who is known as “The Returner” in the metal-detecting society, has reunited multiple items to their owners. In fact, he once returned a U.S. military
dog tag to the owner’s great grandson. I, on the other hand, was told that I was much easier to find than that. Garren had tracked me down by finding my profile on LinkedIn, searching for my employer on the Internet, then calling for me at the company’s public
I readily agreed to take a picture with Jess as he handed me the Ring, since he said the photo would get him an “honorable mention” award in his treasure hunter forum post. Though, he mentioned that the real reason he wanted to return my Ring, as said in his
own few words, was because “it feels good.”
That same weekend, I returned to Galveston Island for my company’s “Adopt-a-Beach” cleanup program.
And no, I did not wear either of my Aggie Rings.
Photo caption: Alex Hinn ’11 (left), shakes hands with Jess Smyers, the man who reunited him with his lost Aggie Ring. Hinn now has two Aggie Rings, his returned original Ring and the one he bought to replace it.