An anonymous note, tucked into a package with four golden rings, has set the internet buzzing with posts of karma, forgiveness, and goodwill. The story is almost too good to be true, except that actually happened.
Apparently, as a teen, Margot Riphagen threw a party that got a little out of hand, and four simple gold rings disappeared, perhaps lifted by an unexpected guest. A decade and a half later, the 31-year-old field coordinator for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees was stunned to find the baubles returned.
Recently, while visiting her parents, Riphagen found a note, detailing the stealer’s remorse.
The rings had been sentimentally valuable to the family, according to Riphagen’s own Facebook posts. One was her mother’s wedding band. Another was a memento marking the birth of her sister. The other pair had been her grandparents’ wedding rings, earmarked as heirlooms for the two sisters.
“As a family, we had mourned the loss of these items and dismissed them as forever lost,”
Riphagen wrote. “Indeed, these items have little monetary value, but the sentimental value is what made these four rings irreplaceable.”
However, the rings came back, to everyone’s surprise.
Take a look at the letter, penned by the penitent thief (cited verbatim, with no grammatical corrections):
Mr. and Mrs. Riphagen,
I am writing you to apologize for being in possession of something I am sure ya truly value and miss. I was at a party in your home many years ago and regretfully, stupidly took something that I should not have.
I recently found these rings while cleaning and I wanted to make sure to return them as I’m sure they were missed dearly. I had looked through old yearbooks to find your daughters then researched online and could only find that you worked at Moraine Valley. I hope you are the right Riphagen family.
Again, I am so truly sorry for any pain, heartache that my actions may have caused your family. I hope that you can find it in your hearts to forgive me. As an adult I realize how sentimental items like this can be.
A dumb kid who wants to right a wrong
The apology letter begs several questions.
Who is the penitent thief? Where were the rings hidden for all this time? What prompted him or her to action, 15 years later?
Most important, the missive makes us wonder: Is there a statute of limitations on apologies?
May it not be so. Who among us has no reason to repent for a misstep – even many years ago?
Perhaps it was a mean word on a school playground. Maybe it was a simple shove off the pier at summer camp. Possibly, an extra brownie slipped onto a tray in the school cafeteria. Or it may have been a more terrible transgression.
Maybe it’s never too late to set things right. Silence may be golden, but a clear conscience is worth plenty more. Certainly, there’s a ring of truth to that.
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