A jilted man from Virginia Beach, Virginia is hoping to bring a smile to a deserving person looking to seal the deal with their significant other. All they have to do is prove they’re in love.
After Steven Crocker’s girlfriend ended their two-year relationship a month before he planned to propose to her during a Harry Potter-themed trip to Universal Studios, the 23-year-old was left with a broken heart — and a $1,700 ring he spent almost a year paying off.
In the days following the split, Crocker’s mother took the ring for safekeeping during the holidays to give her son some time to heal. Feeling ready, Crocker, who is a camera operator at a local news station, asked for it back earlier this month—and found himself experiencing a rush of emotions with the memento in his hands once again.
“I was looking at it and I was crying, listening to some sad songs,” Crocker tells PEOPLE. “I was listening to a song about moving on and growing apart from somebody, and I cried and sat the ring down. Then I went to sleep, woke up the next day, and walked through the house and went to try to sell the ring.”
Yet, no one was willing to buy the ring—made of 14K gold with a 1/2 carat stone—for his asking price. After so many low-ball offers, Crocker came up with another plan.
“That’s when I realized it wasn’t about the money for me, and that no amount of money coming back would make me feel better,” he says. “I thought that if I could pass it along to somebody who would appreciate it, that that might help me move on and feel better.”
Just after midnight on March 5, Crocker posted a picture of the ring to Facebook with a message that he was willing to give it away, for free, to someone who could prove they were “head-over-heels” in love.
“I don’t want to give it away to just anyone. I want to give it to a guy or girl who is so in love with their significant other and wants to take the next step but cannot afford a ring,” Crocker wrote in the post. “I don’t think that anyone on MY friends list falls in that category, but someone out there does, which is why sharing this post is very much appreciated. I’ll send it anywhere in the US where someone is head-over-heels.”
In just a few short days, Crocker has received hundreds of responses to his post, and as of Friday, he has more than a thousand unread emails in his inbox—and he says he’s going to read them all before selecting who gets the ring. So far, he’s received so many videos, photos and lengthy emails with love stories it would make Nora Roberts jealous.
“They’re coming in faster than I can read them,” he says. “It’s nice to hear about people having someone who has stuck by their side through hard times, or if they met in a unique way by chance. There are very different stories and it’s nice to hear that not everything has to happen online nowadays.”
Crocker says he’ll likely make his pick when submissions start to die down, but there’s no telling when that might be. But in between the tales of romance, he’s also received a few requests for dates. Even so, Crocker says that isn’t something he wants to entertain at the moment. Instead, he’s focused on bringing happiness to a deserving someone.
“I’m actually super, super shy, so this whole viral thing is not at all what I expected, but sometimes you have to suck it up for the greater good,” he says. “I feel like, in a time where there’s so much bad news, I feel like this good news is a little nugget.”
What’s more, people have reached out to Crocker to say they were inspired by his post to do things with their leftover rings from breakups. It’s this sense of positivity that is helping Crocker the most.
“I think this will definitely help me heal, for sure,” he says. “I hope whoever gets it—even though I’m sure they’re already happy—feels like it’s another bonus.”