Geralee Olson-Triplett thought the sound she heard while tossing some garbage into the trash can on Tuesday was suspicious.
The 33-year-old child therapist looked into the can, saw the soap dispenser she had thrown away and thought she'd found the cause of the sound. She went back to cleaning her kitchen.
A while later, garbage haulers came and picked up the trash, and Olson-Triplett went to pick up her child from school.
When she got home, she realized she couldn’t find her wedding ring and remembered she had taken it off so it wouldn’t get damaged when she used wood cleaner to clean her kitchen table.
And then it hit her.
“It just dawned on me that that thump that I heard way early in the day when I threw the trash away could have been my wedding ring,” she said.
Her husband, Tyreece Triplett, had placed the two-karat diamond ring on her finger in January 2008 during a ceremony in Jamaica. The ring had his name and the year they were married engraved on the inside, and she knew she’d never forgive herself if she didn’t find it.
He'd just gotten home from work when Olson-Triplett decided to drive to the landfill but realized it had closed. So, they called her husband’s cousin who works there.
He told them the ring was probably gone.
Undeterred, the couple contacted the owner of their garbage service, Roggenkamp Refuse. Bruce Roggenkamp told them all the trucks had been dumped at the landfill a half-hour earlier.
Olson-Triplett hung up, finally feeling defeated.
But an hour later, Roggenkamp called back to say that because of all the debris from the weekend storm, one of his trucks hadn’t made it to the landfill by closing time Tuesday -- and it was the truck that serves her neighborhood.
He told her he could meet her and her husband at the Bluff Road landfill Wednesday morning and they could look through the load together.
Tuesday night, Olson-Triplett prayed to St. Anthony, a saint her grandmother had told her to ask for help when she needed to find something she had lost.
“I did a lot of praying,” she said.
The next morning, she and her father, her husband, her brother-in-law and her husband’s cousin met at the landfill and waited for Roggenkamp, who had decided to drive the truck to the landfill himself.
He drove deeper into the landfill and began unloading on top of a mound of garbage. Maggots crawled on the ground as the five men and Olson-Triplett searched with no success as the truck dumped two loads.
“The smell was just absolutely horrendous,” she said.
Roggenkamp moved the truck forward again and dumped a third load onto the ground. That’s when Olson-Triplett saw three distinctive white trash bags with black drawstrings she had recently purchased.
Her husband and his cousin went to work digging through garbage from the bags with shovels when they noticed the gleam of a ring.
“Out came my diamond wedding ring,” she said. “It was surreal. It was absolutely surreal.”
She said she and her family couldn’t have found the ring without the help of a stranger and a lot of luck.
“Beside the actual value of the ring, it had sentimental value,” she said. “Now it even has a better story.”