JOHNSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Some early Christmas shopping brought a shiny surprise to a local family.
As busy as the Whitten clan is, they took a few extra steps and turned to social media to get a fiance out of the dog house.
This is a story about long odds, three states, two couples and something special, buried in a box.
The package from New Hampshire to Johnston held an early Christmas present, and a sound that empty boxes don’t make.
“So I was shaking it and I looked in. Still couldn’t find anything. So, I took out all the paper,” she said.
Her husband Chris Whitten said it would’ve been easy to miss.
“With all that brown wrapping paper that they put in there to stuff it, it could’ve very easily gone off to the recycle bin,” Chris said.
But there, under the paper, was an engraved wedding ring.
So, he set up a Facebook page with little results until he spent a few bucks to boost it, to focus on one of the few clues on the cardboard.
“I targeted Bentonville, Arkansas because that was the only address on the box,” he said, referring to the town where Walmart’s headquarters are. “Literally not only 24 hours later, I got a message.”
Soon an assistant manager from a Rochester, New Hampshire store, who told him with a deep breath, “I know whose ring that is.”
About a 130 miles away, and a short time before the box arrived on the Whitten’s porch in Johnston, Joshua Fournier had noticed his engagement ring was missing.
“I was packing away and next thing I know,” Fournier remembered. “‘Where’s my ring?'”
His fiance, Mariah Wectawski, who also works in the store’s packing area, remembered the day as well.
“Well,” she said. “He came home and I instantly saw that fear in his eyes that I’d be mad.”
She wasn’t mad, but Lindsey imagined it that way.
“This poor man is out of his wedding ring. He’s going in the dog house,” she said with a laugh.
While the ring for their upcoming wedding seemed gone forever, no one involved lost the meaning of what the Whitten’s did to change that.
“I just greatly appreciate the whole fact that positive things are out there,” Fournier said.
“It makes me happy that someone took the time out of their day,” Wectawski added.
“I was excited to give it back to him,” Chris said.
“You can buy a replacement, but you’re going to know for the rest of your life that it’s a replacement,” Fournier said.
The happy couple, and the ring that went on quite the journey, heads down the aisle next September.