Edwards mom and daughter return lost class ring to local artist
Lost ring is found at Freedom Park and is reunited with owner
Ten-year-old Eliza Pyke made a discovery while taking a break after Nordic practice, sitting on the lawn at Freedom Park in Edwards. Under her hand was a shiny ring that looked like a class ring. Pyke, a sixth-grader at Eagle County Charter Academy, knew the ring was a cherished possession to someone and decided to make it her mission to find the owner.
“I did not think we could find the owner because of all the people in the world. It seemed impossible,” Eliza said.
Eliza enlisted the help of her mother, Liz Pyke, who is an online marketing manager with Vail Health.
“Knowing just how many people come through Freedom Park for different athletic events and dog walks and such, I knew finding the owner would be like finding a needle in a haystack,” Liz said.
The only clues on the ring were the words Munro College, the year 2012 and the initials A.G. inscribed on the ring. Liz went to work searching Facebook to see if anyone had reported a lost class ring. She searched Google and found out that Munro College is in Jamaica, looked on “Lost Class Ring” websites and then decided to start local.
“I called Walmart because I knew they have employees from all regions. I spoke to the manager, Connie Custer, and explained the situation to see if any of her employees may be from Jamaica. After not hearing back for a few days I figured it was probably a lost cause,” Liz said.
The following week Liz got a call from Custer. One of Custer’s employees, Joan Williams, had a son named Andrew Graham who went to Munro College in Jamaica and graduated in 2012.
“I was playing soccer and I always take my ring off when I play,” said Graham, who plays regularly in an adult soccer league. “We lost that game and I was bummed and just left without going back to get my ring. The next week my mom calls me and she didn’t know I had lost my ring yet and she shared the great news that it was found and I was so happy.”
That same day, arrangements were made for Eliza to reunite Andrew with his class ring. Liz and Eliza as well as Andrew and his mother all met up at the Subway parking lot in Edwards.
“I was very surprised we actually found the owner of the ring and was really happy and I was excited to meet him. It was like a miracle,” Eliza said.
“I was so worried when I lost it I didn’t know what to do. I tried calling my school to have them order another one, but due to COVID-19 nobody was in the office. This means so much to me,” Graham said.
“I couldn’t tell who was more excited, Eliza for giving Andrew his ring or Andrew for receiving it. There were big smiles on both faces,” Liz said.
Before they all left Andrew’s mother told Eliza “Andrew will draw you a portrait” of her. In addition to having his own cleaning company and being co-owner of a new transportation business, Graham is also an artist.
Graham wanted to reward Eliza for her honesty and determination in reuniting him with his ring, but he didn’t want to just give her money, that is not memorable.
“I haven’t drawn a portrait in 10 years, but I will try,” Graham said, and on Monday, he stayed up all night drawing a portrait of Eliza.
On Wednesday the group met up again and this time Graham presented a framed, hand-drawn portrait to Eliza.
“I was very impressed because it looked just like me and I was very thankful to know that we both did something for each other,” Eliza said.
“I was incredibly touched,” Liz said. “Andrew wanted to use his talent and his gift to say ‘thank you.’ It was such a sweet act of kindness and completely unexpected.”
Everyone walked away with lessons that day.
“I’m so proud of Eliza. I am so glad that she could see this through. It started off as an attempt to find a needle in a haystack and it ended with ‘what a small world’ moment. I really want to thank Connie at Walmart for taking the time to ask her employees about the ring and trying to help. It is truly amazing what happens when people care and work together,” Liz said.
Eliza learned a valuable lesson, too. “Even if it seems impossible it’s always worth it to try,” she said.
For Graham, there are many takeaways from this experience.
“It’s such a good thing to see these young kids being so considerate. Certain kids may have not have tried to find the owner. Liz did a good job raising a daughter who wanted to do the right thing,” Graham said.
It also sparked a renewed interest in his love of drawing.
“My mom is my No. 1 fan and is always encouraging me to get back into it. I’ve put art on the back burner because I am so busy with my businesses, but this experience has changed that. It’s amazing how losing my ring has now led me to get back into my art again,” Graham said.
Follow Graham’s progress and view landscapes and other pieces of art on his Instagram page at @artastic1995.
“It was irresponsible of me to lose my ring, but if you put a certain energy out there, you get it back. The universe answered my prayers to find my ring, but I’ve found so much more,” Graham said.
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