Diamonds in the Rubbish - United Hub
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Diamonds in the rubbish

By Matt Adams

Portland, Oregon, Ramp Service Employee Carrol Buczarski and Lead Customer Service Representative Kelly Pederson never would have dreamed that an afternoon spent digging through the garbage would turn them into local celebrities.

But after a customer left her wedding ring and engagement rings in a Buy on Board tapas box that was inadvertently discarded during a recent flight, that's the position in which they found themselves.

While in flight, the customer had taken off three of her rings while she ate, placing them in the box. She then fell asleep, and her husband, assuming it was empty, tossed it in the trash. When they arrived in Portland, they found Kelly in the baggage claim area and desperately asked if there was anything she could do.

Knowing how big a job lay ahead but determined to find those rings, Kelly asked Carrol for help, and the pair began rummaging through bags of trash from the flight.

"I really didn't think we'd find them," Carrol said. "We just looked at all those bags and thought, how are we going to do this?"

After opening and checking dozens of tapas boxes, much to their relief, they hit the jackpot.

"We were laughing, because it was kind of funny," Carrol recalled, saying that they remained in remarkably good spirits as they undertook the not-so-pleasant task.

Kelly ran the rings back up to the terminal, where the grateful customer was waiting. A few days later, photographers from Portland's CBS affiliate, KOIN, showed up to take pictures of Kelly and Carrol. The Port of Portland, which manages the airport, had presented the two with a customer service award and posted about it on their Facebook page. KOIN picked up the story from there, leading to Kelly and Carrol being featured on the evening news.

"Sometimes you do what you have to do," said Carrol. "They were someone's rings; how could you just let that go and not try to find them? It was nice to be able to give them back to the customer. All I can say is thank God for gloves."

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