EAGLE, Colo. (AP) — Virtue may be its own reward, but the chance to stay at an exclusive mountain development while on a Colorado ski vacation isn’t bad, either.
That’s what Mark Epple of Minneapolis and his family received this Christmas for returning a valuable diamond ring he found at the Eagle County airport last February on his way home from skiing. The ring was a 12-carat yellow diamond Roger Ward had crafted for his wife, Janis, to commemorate their 30th wedding anniversary.
The couple didn’t realize Janis Ward had lost the ring in the hurry of catching a plane until they reached their home in Miami.
“It was something that she cherished,” Roger Ward said of the ring.
Airline and airport employees searched the ramps, parking lot and baggage area after the Wards contacted them, Eagle County spokeswoman Kris Friel said.
Epple and his wife, Karen, were flying out of the Eagle County airport when he spotted something shiny next to the curb. He put what he assumed was costume jewelry in his pocket, and looked at it closer at home.
Figuring the ring was valuable, Epple called the airport and discovered that the Wards were looking for it.
A Brinks courier delivered the ring to Miami, where the original jeweler made some structural repairs. All the diamonds were intact.
The Wards offered Epple a reward, which he declined. He said he saw the incident as a learning experience for his three children.
“You try to teach them the right thing,” Epple said. “If you return something that belongs to somebody else, you shouldn’t expect to have rewards.”
Roger Ward, however, called Epple’s honesty “extraordinary.” After talking to him, Ward discovered that Epple, an architect who had been laid off, was passionate about skiing in Colorado. He offered the Epples a chance to stay in the Wards’ part-time home in Cordillera, an upscale mountain development near the Vail and Beaver Creek ski resorts.
The Epples and a couple of family friends arrived for their ski vacation Dec. 26.
WCCO-TV’s James Schugel Reports
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