Panhandler returns ring to man who tossed him coins in Charlottetown

Jim Day
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Terry Arsenault, left, of Summerside praises Bobby, a panhandler in Charlottetown, for his honesty in returning a wedding ring that Arsenault inadvertently tossed into Bobby's canister along with some change.

Now this is a panhandling story with a heartwarming twist.

Terry Arsenault, 58, of Summerside was in Charlottetown Friday evening with his wife Teresa to take the couple’s son, Paul Russo, out for a birthday dinner.

On the way to the restaurant, Terry saw a young man on the corner of Queen Street and Grafton Street with a sign declaring help was needed to pay for food and rent.

Terry reached into his pocket and hauled out a good fistful of change and tossed the money into a tall canister. His son plopped more coins on top.

The trio then proceeded a short distance down Grafton Street to the Pilot House for an enjoyable dinner.

At some point after returning home in Summerside, Terry looked with concern at his naked ring finger.

He ran through his activity that day in an attempt to determine where he may have parted company from the 10-karat gold ring with a single diamond in the centre that was purchased for him by Teresa 27 years ago. He recalled taking the ring off and placing it in his pocket so he could apply hand cream.

After that recollection, he became rather certain that the ring was inadvertently tossed along with change into the panhandler’s canister of coins.

Terry returned to Charlottetown to visit two local pawnshops. He was told the ring had not turned up at either business.

He was deeply frustrated at the prospect of never recovering the sentimentally valuable piece of jewelry that cost about $250 almost three decades ago.

“This ring kind of represents some of the trials we’ve been through and survived,’’ he says of a marriage filled with its share of highs and lows. “I kind of felt like I lost my best friend...I was almost grieving for this ring.’’

So out of desperation and dwindling hope in recovering the ring, he made his way to the very same corner where he had given a handful of coins to an appreciative young man a little over a day earlier.

There was a panhandler stationed at the corner, but not the same one. However, the man did identify his fellow panhandler as a friend named Bobby and noted that Bobby told him about the ring discovered in amongst a pile of coins.

Terry passed his phone number to the panhandler and asked him to pass it along to Bobby. No more than five minutes later, Terry was answering a call from Bobby.

Terry soon met up with Bobby. Bobby gave Terry the ring. Terry gave Bobby a $50 reward.

Bobby said: “I wasn’t expecting nothing. I just wanted to do a good deed.’’

Terry was thrilled to get his ring back but also touched by the goodness of the panhandler.

“The ring was important but I wasn’t expecting to find it at all...I was just ecstatic to find it,’’ he says. “He (Bobby the panhandler) was honest enough even in his situation not to pawn it off.’’

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Summerside, Grafton Street Queen Street

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Recent comments

  • Amanda
    March 21, 2014 - 12:28

    This story is nice, but the title of the article and the wording throughout is terrible. Why does it say "panhandler". This wording is meant to make the gentleman sound like his efforts were out of the ordinary for a "panhandler". Why is panhandler put before any description of this man?? If he was a banker it wouldn't say Bobby the banker returned the ring. Just because this man lives the lifestyle he does (probably NOT by choice) does not mean that he is dishonest or a thief. This is terrible journalism at its finest.

  • Frances Underwood
    March 19, 2014 - 20:35

    The fact that their son's name is Paul Russo is just great.

  • Jon
    March 19, 2014 - 08:10

    @yuuuupp people like you are pathetic , don't like a good story? A good deed can go a long way. I feel bad for people Like you Enjoy being miserable. Hopefully you can someday learn to appreciate a story like this. Don't let negativity consume you, life is it short.

  • Mary
    March 19, 2014 - 07:59

    The first thing Mr. Arsenault needs to do is get his ring resized. It must be too loose if it fell off so easily.

    • No Idea
      March 19, 2014 - 10:23

      Read the whole story. "He recalled taking the ring off and placing it in his pocket so he could apply hand cream." So it was in the pocket, mixed in with his spare change. Good for you Bobby and for Terry Arsenault in giving him a fair reward. Well done to both.

  • Islander
    March 19, 2014 - 07:06

    Glad you got your ring back and that this young man was honest." WAY TO GO BOBBY"

  • Blaine
    March 18, 2014 - 22:30

    Funny you never see any comments on such a heartwarming story.Way to go,Bobby. :)

  • Yuuuup
    March 18, 2014 - 21:54

    Just wondering how the good ol Guardian got a hold of this breaking news. This definitely is deserving of front page news. In unrelated news, earlier today I was at Walmart. I purchased some socks. Went to the counter. The cashier told me "that will be $6.83, please". And I willingly gave her $7.00 (cash), and received $0.17 back. Yuuuup

    • LA
      March 19, 2014 - 07:29

      If you somehow imagined yourself to be either funny or clever, you are profoundly mistaken. The exact opposite in fact.

    • I voted for the other guy!
      March 19, 2014 - 07:47

      $0.17 back? Impressive without pennies!

  • jj from summerside
    March 18, 2014 - 21:46

    good show Bobby thats what I call a good honest deed. perhaps someone reading this can offer you a job if that would help your situation.

  • Charles
    March 18, 2014 - 20:32

    Amazing story. Side note, the pawn shops are the only stores that buy gold that, every single day, sends what try pawn and buy to the police on their own accord. The pickers, money mart, the flea markets, etc all report nothing ( hell, some is done under the table).. Too bad the pawn shops are the only places searched (and carry the reputation) considering there are so many other places buying gold with a blind eye.