LYNN HAVEN — After saving for three years to pay for a $6,000 diamond engagement ring and marriage band, Corey Todd was looking forward to handing it over to his longtime girlfriend on July 7 when he proposed marriage. He was waiting until she finished her nursing training.
Until then, he was hiding the rings in a pair of dress pants in a closet in a guest room that he didn't use often.
To his despair, he noticed last week that the pants no longer were in the closet.
His girlfriend, Jacelyn Penton, donated the pants and other clothes from the seldom-used closet because they were cleaning house in preparation for moving out.
Todd said he couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the empty closet.
"I was at a loss for words," Todd said. "My stomach dropped. I didn't know what happened."
Todd and Penton went to the store to talk to Goodwill employees about getting the ring back, but the pants couldn't be found. Todd said he did see some of his other clothes being sold in the store.
Todd and Penton said they hope someone returns the ring if they find it. But Todd said he wasn't holding out much hope.
"There aren't too many honest people in the world nowadays," he said.
Penton said she feels terrible about donating the pants, but added that they came from a closet her boyfriend hardly ever uses.
"We are trying to get rid of things we don't need," she said. "I (usually) never go back there. I just know when we moved in he had a whole bunch of clothes he is not wearing and don't fit any more."
Donna Wright, a spokeswoman for Goodwill Industries Inc. Big Bend, said the company is empathetic to the plight of the couple, and associates at the Lynn Haven store are doing everything they can to find the pants.
"The Lynn Haven store is continuing to be on the alert for this," she said. "All associates are on the lookout for it — the floor crew, everybody at the store. The associates have her phone number so we can call on the off chance it is recovered."
She said Goodwill employees do not go through the pockets of items before they are put out in the store for sale.
Wright said there have been happy endings to similar stories at Goodwill stores, and she hopes that will be the case with Todd and Penton.