I posted the other day about how an alert waiter in Colorado Springs recently prevented a woman from being victimized - by a drug placed in her drink by her date while she was away from their table.
Yesterday I read another story about the good deeds of restaurant staff. Details here and below the fold if the link has gone dead.
You can bet your rigatoni that I’m likely to have lunch or dinner at one of the Pulcinella Ristorante locations sometime soon.
JOHNSON: Restaurant staff restores woman’s faith in humanity
By Bill Johnson
Saturday, February 23, 2008Paula Klein is 66 and a resident of Chicago, where she and her husband, Phil, run a big scrap metal business.Two weeks ago, burglars ransacked their home, so she decided to find solace by visiting her daughter, Julie, in Denver.They went everywhere, mostly dining out, visiting friends here and there and seeing shows like Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy. This later would prove precisely the problem.
Last Friday evening, Paula Klein was riding in Julie’s car on their way to the Cirque performance. She removed her gloves. Her heart stopped.
Where was it? Oh, my goodness, she breathed, Phil is going to go nuts.
“My heart just clutched,” Paula Klein recalled. “I panicked. My mind raced with so many emotions that I couldn’t distinguish one from the other.”
The reason? The engagement ring Phil had given her decades ago, a gold band ringed with diamonds, on top of which sat a behemoth, 4-carat diamond was no longer on her finger.
Yet how could such an out-sized piece of jewelry, which she declines for safety reasons to put a price tag on, but likely is worth more than many people earn in a year, simply disappear?
“She went a little nuts,” Julie Klein, 42, said.
So that night she and Julie retraced every step they could remember having taken.
The frigid chill of the mile-high weather must have shrunken her finger, Paula Klein now guesses, causing the ring to fall off.
Yet they had been everywhere – to Broomfield, Denver and Lafayette.
Did she and Julie still go to Cirque Dreams?
Incredibly enough, they continued on, but not before calling Mark Woodard, Julie’s husband, to scour the house.
“I didn’t last long at the performance,” Paula Klein said, “maybe 45 minutes. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.”
The search continued into the next morning.
They fairly pulled Julie’s car and home apart, did a hands-and-knees search of the lawn and the garage.
They did the same thing at Elway’s and other restaurants where they had been, slowly walking the length of the parking lots.
Sunday arrived along with Paula Klein’s scheduled return trip to Chicago. She and Julie posted $1,000 reward flyers everywhere they could think before they headed to the airport.
Paula Klein flew home without her ring.
There, she told Phil, who’d had the ring made especially for her.
“He was so wonderful, so empathic and loving,” Paula Klein said.
Her daughter, meanwhile, was not giving up. On Monday, she retraced again all the steps she and her mother had taken.
There were stops at restaurants and shops, plus another pass through the lawn and the garage.
Finally, on Tuesday, she asked a co-worker who had seen her mom that Friday afternoon if she remembered seeing the ring. She did.
So for the fourth time in five days, Julie Klein made what she vowed would be her last trip to Pulcinella Ristorante, a small Italian eatery where she and her mom had dined Friday night not far from her home in the old town section of Lafayette.
She went up to the bartender and, again, asked if anyone had found a diamond ring.
They had, the bartender responded skeptically, before demanding that Julie Klein fully describe it.
“I held out no hope we would ever find it,” she said.
“That anyone would turn it in, well, that is just amazing honesty.”
The restaurant staff has repeatedly declined Paula Klein’s offer of the $1,000 reward.
She has since sent along a tall gift basket to the restaurant staff.
Elizabeth Peronto, 21, found it while vacuuming after closing that night. The ring lay against the leg of a chair.
“It was so big and so shiny!” the young server gushed, remembering the moment. “I put it on my finger and did a little happy dance because we were so busy that night, and it was so lucky that no one else found it.”
“Wow,” bartender Daniel Gallegos remembers thinking when Elizabeth Peronto gave him the ring to lock away. “It almost blinded me when I saw it. I’d never seen what has to be at least a $60,000 diamond ring before.”
There was never, he said, a question of what would happen to it. It is why, too, he said, both refused the reward.
“It’s our job to do things right. It is not our right to keep it or be rewarded for doing the proper thing,” Daniel Gallegos said.
“Keeping it? It’s not how my father raised me,” Elizabeth Peronto said. “Anyone in this restaurant would have done the same thing. I think people have too little faith in the goodness of the world.”
“It just restores your faith in humanity,” Paula Klein said from Chicago. “How easy would it have been for her to just put it in her pocket? What she did was really gratifying.
And it isn’t just for material reasons,” she said. “It is an item that represented history, memories and sentiment. You can get another ring, but you can’t replace that.”
She has no immediate plans to put it back on her finger.
“No,” Paula Klein said, “I am going to have it re-sized and tightened first. I don’t ever want to go through this again.”
johnsonw@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-954-2763.© Rocky Mountain News