Kate Hernandez received the best Christmas present ever.
She’d lost her engagement ring with its one-carat diamond at Merewether Beach. It was worth $8000 or so, not to mention the emotional value.
“We spent the rest of the night searching for it. It was very distressing,” Kate said.
The next morning her husband Jose tried to find the ring with a cheap metal detector. He had no luck.
Kate posted about the loss on Facebook in a last-ditch effort, hoping someone could help her.
“You get your silly comments and people wishing you good luck. But then this boy did a Google search for me. He found a ring finder,” Kate, of Wallalong, said.
Enter Nick Richards.
The ring finder, Nick Richards, lives at Forster. He was happy to use his top-end metal detector to search for the ring. He met Kate’s husband Jose at the beach at 5am last Friday. The early start was due to Nick having to start work that day at 8am.
Since the ring had been lost in the sand for a week, Nick didn’t hold great hopes of finding it. But find it, he did.
“The look on Jose’s face was priceless,” Nick said.
When Jose arrived home, he put on a sad face for his wife. Then he held up the ring.
“I just couldn’t believe it. It was very emotional,” Kate said.
The couple have been married for 13 years.
Kate said Nick was “a lovely guy”.
He doesn’t search for rings for money. It’s a hobby.
“He was just there to help us. He was very hesitant to take anything off us, but we gave him some money. We were completely overwhelmed with the goodness,” she said.
“He’s like a superhero.”
Nick, of Great Lakes Metal Detecting, said he was glad to help Kate and Jose.
“There aren’t too many situations in the modern world where everyone wins. This is one of them,” he said.
“It’s not totally selfless because I get a tremendous buzz out of being able to do it.”
He likes to search for lost rings “for the mission and the thrill of the hunt”.
“I don’t consider it a job. It’s too much fun for that,” he said.
He recently drove to Bourke to find a ring “lost underwater in a dam on a sheep station”.
He also goes scuba-diving in the ocean to find lost rings for people.
“The deepest thing I found was in Sydney Harbour. It was 31 metres deep.”
Kate lost the ring while digging in the sand and throwing a ball around on the beach.
It had never fallen off her finger before.
“I don’t think I’ll ever wear it to the beach again,” she said.