Imagine Kathy Boyle's reaction when she discovered her wedding ring was missing its diamond.
She was running errands Dec. 28 when she noticed the nugget was AWOL.
"I cannot even begin to tell you the emotions of what that diamond represented," she said.
It was the rock her husband, Scott, gave her 44 years ago, and the one she was wearing when she gave birth to their five children.
"I cried when I told Scott what had happened, and I cried myself to sleep that night," she said.
The Boyles spent the next few days retracing Kathy's steps, going back to the stores at which she'd shopped, walking through parking lots, and dealing with crushed emotions. She knew it was a needle/haystack situation, but she felt she couldn't go on without at least making an effort to find the diamond.
"I knew that I did not want a replacement," Boyle said. "It was that diamond or nothing at all."
She'd been in a great mood. After a most perfect Christmas season with all their grown children, their families and friends together, all the laughter and the warmth, this happened.
Gaye Von Tellrop was one of the people Kathy Boyle had contacted. Boyle had been in the Sephora store at Vintage Oaks Shopping Center during that period from when she last remembers seeing the diamond and the time she noticed it was gone.
On. Dec. 30, Von Tellrop, who manages the store, decided to ask the corporate cleaning company to have their after-hours workers sweep the store floors rather than vacuum and have close look at the piles before picking them up and discarding the junk.
And behold, later that night, one piece of dirt was particularly shiny.
"On my birthday, Gaye called me to say they had found the diamond," Boyle said. "And God bless her, she was as excited as I was."
Von Tellrop, who said she couldn't comment on the record because of Sephora's corporate policy, could only give credit to a cleaning woman named Connie.
"This truly good and honest cleaning lady and Gaye went above and beyond doing their job," Boyle said. "They took my loss seriously. They are both incredible human beings."
On the heels of receiving her amazing birthday present, Boyle said she is starting 2013 with a sky-high attitude as the diamond gets re-set on the ring. She said she has new hope for the country "that kind and honest people are all around us." She said she feels renewed that someone would give back something that's not hers.
"I just have this really warm feeling right now," she said. "It makes me want to try harder to be kind as they are."
Asked if this episode provided her with a New Year's wish to pass along, she said: "I wish all of you to be surrounded by incredible human beings and to be one yourself. It will make you happy."