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P.E.I. woman overjoyed cherished rings found inside game box at Value Village

Orlanda Drebit of Appin Road, P.E.I. holds a wedding day photo of her and her late husband, Don. She is thrilled to have just tracked down her wedding and engagement rings, among others, after forgetting where she hid them in 2015.
Orlanda Drebit of Appin Road, P.E.I. holds a wedding day photo of her and her late husband, Don. She is thrilled to have just tracked down her wedding and engagement rings, among others, after forgetting where she hid them in 2015. - Jim Day

Australian visitors bought the game at the Charlottetown store and discovered the hidden treasures

APPIN ROAD, P.E.I. - The jingle should have given the hiding place away.

Orlanda Drebit heard the sound clue when she picked up an old board game called MindTrap – a game she had not played for more than 20 years.

She had, however, turned to the game in the summer of 2015 as a place to hide seven rings before heading off to enjoy music and socializing at the Cavendish Beach Festival.

She had never before hidden her precious rings, which include her wedding ring and engagement ring, in MindTrap or any other board game.

Normally, Drebit, 56, of Appin Road, located near Bonshaw, had deposited the rings in a safety box in her bank for safe keeping when she would be leaving her home for a period of time.

There were 10 or so times, though, where she simply hid the rings at home, usually in off-season clothes.

Some point after the festival, when she wanted to retrieve the rings, she simply could not put her finger on where she had put the jewelry, which, in addition to the wedding and engagement rings, included an opal from her mother-in-law, a Trinity ring with three big diamonds and one beauty she described as a “baguette-shaped, very, very flashy-looking dinner ring.’’

Drebit chalks up her inability to recall the hideaway to menopause.

“But everybody goes, ‘Oh, I do that all the time,’’’ she says.

“Maybe not with that many rings.’’

Orlanda Drebit likes to wear plenty of rings to match her big personality. Her late husband, Don, she recalls, found great joy in buying her some bling for her fingers – rings that were tasteful and one-of-a-kind. “He used to say the return on investment was so high because I wore them every day,’’ she says fondly.

Drebit looked everywhere for her rings.

She turned her house inside out. She checked local pawn shops. She searched Kijiji sites.

Eventually, she accepted that the rings – most being gifts from her beloved, late husband, Don – would never be worn by her again.

Her insurance company covered the financial loss but, obviously, could do nothing about filling the emotional void.

“Well, it was very difficult,’’ she says.

“To a woman, I don’t think that there is anything probably more precious in terms of a possession than an engagement ring and a wedding ring and even more so since my husband is deceased and has been since 2009. So, in particular, those were really, really difficult losses to come to terms with.’’

Just a month or so ago, she unknowingly – and literally - had the rings in her grasp.

She picked up the MindTrap game to bring to Value Village in Charlottetown, along with other items, in preparation for her upcoming move to her native home of Saskatchewan.

She is amazed she did not recall at that moment – or sometime over the past three years – that she had tucked the rings away in the box.

“Yeah, I feel like an idiot because I actually remember now picking up the box to put it in Value Village, thinking there was a bit of a jingle,’’ she recalls.

“It’s a card game. Nothing should jingle…if I had just taken a second (to look).’’

Someone else looked, though.

On Friday, she was told by her niece of a story in the National Post about some Australians who bought MindTrap during a holiday in P.E.I. around Labour Day and found rings worth at least $17,000 hidden in the bottom of the box.

Drebit has made contact with Chris Lightfoot, who brought his story of an incredible find to the media and told one reporter “if someone from P.E.I. saw the story and…it’s their Granma Harriet’s ring or whatever, you can have it.’’

Naturally, Drebit does want to have the rings back.

She had a lovely talk with Lightfoot on Friday. She told him he has no idea what this means to her.

And what does it mean?

“Everything,’’ she says.

“To get my engagement ring and my wedding ring back? Everything.’’

(Story continues after video) 

She plans to pick up the rings in Toronto, where Lightfoot lives with his girlfriend, and gratefully hand over a reward, which was not being sought.

“I think it will be really neat to meet these special people and thank them in person,’’ she says.

Drebit acknowledges her rings could have been found by someone that treated the amazing find as a windfall, cashing in on the good fortune rather than looking to return the jewelry to its rightful owner.

“It just restores your faith in humanity,’’ she says of the good Samaritans.

“It really does. That’s why I think the story resonates. I mean we hear these horrible things about the shootings in the Jewish synagogue and hate crimes. There are so many good people in this world.’’

Meanwhile, Drebit is not sure what happens now with the insurance company that reimbursed her for the lost rings. If she needs to pay them back, that is what she will do.

As for future safe-keeping of the rings, clothes and board games are out and asafety box is in.

It was suggested the remarkable manner in which she is being reunited with the cherished rings could be seen as a sign from her late husband, Don, who died in a car crash nine years ago.

“One of my friends said – and it makes me cry – she said, ‘I think this is Don’s way of telling you he’s OK with you moving on, because now he is going to be with you,’’’ he says.

Poll: What’s the value of the most expensive item you’ve lost?

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