No one named Frodo was involved (neither was there a Sam, a Pippin, a Merry or a Fatty) and it didn’t take place in Middle Earth (rather, a short journey from our Grafton Street headquarters to a humble intersection in Shrewsbury sufficed). Nonetheless, our own Fellowship of the Ring did involve a meaningful quest to find a ring.
On a recent Thursday morning, Davis Advertising’s Senior Programmer/IT Manager Justin Grant, driving along Route 9, aka the Worcester Turnpike, in Shrewsbury, had his left hand out the window of his Toyota Highlander when, improbably, his wedding ring came dislodged, fell to the pavement and bounced onto the median strip.
Horrified and thinking only of this, his most prized material possession, Grant hit the brakes and jumped out. It was the middle of the day and sunny, which should have made the search easy, except for one problem. It was the day after the year’s biggest snowstorm, and that snowstorm had dropped 10 inches of the white stuff on the greater Worcester area.
So even though Grant dug through the snow, the ring was nowhere to be found. After about a half hour, a Shrewsbury police officer arrived on the scene, justifiably worried that a Toyota Highlander was parked in the middle of the road. He succeeded in having Grant move the vehicle, but he was also kind enough to stick around for the next hour to help in the search. And there they were, two married men digging through the snow for one wedding ring. The officer, Grant later recalled, even tossed his own ring into the snow in an attempt to gage the impression it made on the snow’s surface and measure how far it fell.
Nice try; no ring. Just snow, dirt and road trash.
Grant, already there for about an hour and a half, would have stuck around even longer if it weren’t for the phone call he got. It was his son’s school. His son was sick and needed to be picked up. Funny how coincidences happen, isn’t it? The wedding ring, a symbol of commitment. What could be more important? The commitment itself, of course: his wife and their children.
Nevertheless, Davis’s IT Manager borrowed a metal detector from his neighbor later that afternoon and returned to the scene of the, um, loss. He spent an additional hour looking. Still nothing. And the next day, when, needing to shop at Trader Joe’s anyway, he gave it another go? Nope. Nothing.
At that point, Grant recalled, he had decided the ring could not possibly be there anymore. And, looking around, up and down the street, he made the uneasy calculation that there were three – yes, three – cash for gold dealers on that same busy corner. So he went to each one, described his ring and asked them to keep an eye out for it.
That was something. A sliver of possibility remained. But, he said later, the truth was that he had lost hope.
The following Monday morning, back at work, Grant was describing his plight to two others in the break room, Property Manager Dirk England and Copywriter Dave Halperin. England suggested Grant give it one more shot, since much of the snow had melted the day before, and would continue to melt that day. Maybe the ring will show itself now. We should all go, Halperin added. Get a bunch of us together and scour the area.
And so it was. Grant, England, Halperin and Web Developer Ray Lo – a virtual Fellowship of the Ring –ventured out at lunch on a quest for the ring. Not that they had much hope. If anything, this was a show of support for Grant and, since it was such a beautiful day, it was also an excuse to get out of the office for a bit.
Travelling back to Route 9 via Grafton and Lake streets, they reached the fateful intersection, parked in the Trader Joe’s lot, and walked to the street. From the sidewalk they could see that there was, in fact, less snow, but still the chance that a valuable piece of gold would still be there seemed slight. Grant was particularly skeptical that it could still be on the median strip itself, given how many times he’d looked, so he instead stayed behind to search the sidewalk – maybe it got kicked over this way, he said.
The other three searchers crossed the street to the median strip and, forming a line, scoured the area together, finding the same dirty snow (although less of it) and bits of trash that Grant had encountered for three days. But then, suddenly, the sound of England’s voice rang out. “I got it!” he yelled, held up the ring and crossed the street to give back to Grant.
And there it was, back in its rightful place. Mission accomplished for this particular Fellowship of the Ring.