Strangers return lost engagement ring to boyfriend after it was swiped from his backpack

By Jason Duaine Hahn
January 17, 2018 04:25 PM
Credit: Courtesy Nico Bellamy

A nightmare morning for one California man had a happy ending thanks to a stroke of serendipity.

When Nico Bellamy was handed his girlfriend’s grandmother’s engagement ring by her father three years ago, he knew he had to keep the ring safe for when the time was just right to pop the question. Bellamy stored the ring in a local deposit box and kept it hidden from his longtime girlfriend, Caitie Schlisserman. As the Los Angeles couple prepared to move from West Hollywood to Silver Lake in July 2017, Bellamy retrieved the ring.

“I already had the idea in my head that I was going to propose for awhile,” Bellamy, 27, a pitch consultant, tells PEOPLE. “So I took it out before we moved to keep it safe with me.”

He put the ring into a small plastic bag and then placed it back into its box and slid it into his backpack as he prepared for the move. Once they arrived at their new place, Bellamy placed his backpack on the ground of his living room and helped the movers he hired to bring their furniture inside the house. By the end of the day, with all of their belongings moved in, Bellamy was excited about the new chapter ahead of them.

Until a week later, that is.

The ring that was (almost) lost forever
| Credit: Nico Bellamy

A few days after moving in, Bellamy was preparing to go to the airport to pick up Caitie’s father, Stuart Schlisserman, when he remembered the ring was still in his backpack.

“I went to go get it and noticed my backpack had been unzipped. When I dumped everything out and realized the ring wasn’t there, I ran to the bathroom and threw up immediately,” says Bellamy. “Not only was it this heirloom that was given to me by her dad to keep safe and I misplaced it, but her father was still recovering from his mother passing away just nine months earlier.”

When he regained his composure, Bellamy thought back on what could have happened to the ring.

“I started freaking out, and I was running around the house overturning stuff, desperately, because I knew there was no way it could have fallen out somewhere.”

That’s when he suddenly remembered that the movers had asked to move his backpack at one point during the move.

“I figured it had to have been the movers [who took it] because the bag was zipped up and it couldn’t have fallen out,” he says.

Bellamy immediately called the moving company but didn’t get a response. With his potential future father-in-law landing soon, he had to leave for the airport to pick up the man whose late mother’s ring he had just lost. Caitie, meanwhile, was none the wiser.

Nico Bellamy and Caitie Schlisserman
| Credit: Courtesy Nico Bellamy

“I don’t think I said anything to her on the drive to the airport, I think I was just staring straight ahead. I was running through my head all the possibilities that might happen when I told her dad about the ring,” he says. “I have a really great relationship with him, so I was worried about damage to that, that was the main thing.”

When they arrived at the airport, Bellamy immediately texted Stuart saying they needed to talk privately right away. Bellamy told Caitie an excuse and ran in from the car to meet Stuart in the airport, and then broke the news.

“To his credit, he’s a very, very kind person, but I’ve never been in a situation like this, so I took my glasses off in case I was going to get hit!” he remembers. “I was panicking.”

Stuart took the news well and simply told Bellamy that they’d “figure it out.”

As the three made their way through Los Angeles’s notoriously packed streets back to Silver Lake, Bellamy decided to take an alternative route that would get them home faster. As he pulled up to an intersection, Stuart noticed a sign pinned to a tree that read in big, bold letters: “Found Engagement Ring.”

“I thought it had to be mine, because it seemed like such a weird coincidence,” Bellamy says. “I hoped it would be, but how could someone have found this thing?”

Bellamy couldn’t take down the number because Caitie was with him, so when they got back to the house, he said he was going to walk the dog. He immediately returned to the sign and texted the number with a description of the ring. As luck would have it, the ring was his!

The ring, where it belongs
| Credit: Courtesy Nico Bellamy

“I’ve never had a feeling of relief like that,” Bellamy says.

When he returned home, Bellamy told Caitie that he needed to sweep up the peaches that had fallen from their tree, which bought him time to meet up with the couple who had his ring. That’s when they told him they found the ring box in a nearby alleyway—right where the moving trucks were a week earlier. Bellamy says he is convinced the movers took the box, opened it, saw the crumpled plastic bag but not the ring and then tossed it aside thinking it was empty. Regardless of what happened, the ring was back in his hands.

“I didn’t even know the ring was missing until that morning. This all happened in the span of like two hours. I found out the ring had been stolen, I drove to pick up her dad and told him about it,” Bellamy says. “The movers had to have seen it and thrown it away. Then my neighbors found it and almost threw it away, and then kept it. Then they put up this one sign, and it was the only sign they put up, on a street that I never go on.”

Bellamy kept the incredible story from Caitie until New Year’s Eve, when he proposed during their trip to Paris.

“I went through like every stage of panic, anger, fear and then joy in such a small amount of time. It was the most stressful two hours in my life,” he says. “And the greatest thing now is it’s on Katie’s hand — so if it gets lost again it’s her fault!”