On a snowy and desolate stretch of Interstate 80 halfway between Sacramento, Calif., and Reno, Nev., a tire chain installer named Douglas Benedetti — in a remarkable display of selflessness — searched for a stranger's lost wedding band in the middle of the night.
Even though his chances of success were slim to none, Benedetti was determined to recover the beloved piece of jewelry — on foot, at 1 a.m., in the freezing cold. Incredibly, he succeeded. Now he just needs to find the owner.
Benedetti's amazing story was highlighted in a televised report by the CBS-TV affiliate in Sacramento.
The tire chain installer had been working the eastbound side of Interstate 80 late on Friday night when he noticed a man jogging up and down the shoulder with his cell phone light aimed at the snow. The panicked man told Benedetti that he lost his wedding ring while putting chains on his tires.
“His hands got cold and it slipped off. He went back looking for it and had no luck,” Benedetti told CBS13. “He was disappointed, definitely disappointed.”
After the man and his wife drove off toward Reno in their white SUV, Benedetti decided he was going to help. Once his shift was over at 1 a.m., he was then free to help the stranger. He started his mission on foot, shining a powerful LED light into the snow on the side of the road. The man had given Benedetti a general idea of where the ring was lost and told him what was inscribed in the band: “Lisa 5th June 2010.”
Despite the long odds, Benedetti was completely confident that he would succeed. "I told myself, 'I’m gonna find that ring; I’m gonna find it tonight,' and I did.”
Benedetti said that he picked up a lot of chain links along the route. "There was a lot of trash, but when I saw it, it was perfectly round and sunk in the snow. I scooped it up and once I saw Lisa’s name on it, I knew I had a wedding band for sure. I had the right ring,” said Benedetti.
Unfortunately, Benedetti didn't get the couple's name or phone number, so now he's hoping that the power of the media and social networks will help bring the owner and the ring back together.
"A sentimental piece [of jewelry] for a special time in their life, and they [didn't] need to have it lost on the side of the highway,” said Benedetti. “I was able to do for him what he couldn’t do for himself, and I’d like to give it back to him; and he, in return, can pay it forward to someone else later in life.”