By Hannah Connorton
Corey Todd proposed to his girlfriend Jacelyn Penton with a Sylvie solitaire diamond engagement ring, thanks to a little help from a Panama City, Fla. jeweler.
Panama City, Fla.--A Florida couple has risen above the snafu of accidentally donating a $6,000 engagement ring to Goodwill, thanks to the generosity of the staff at a family-owned jewelry store.

Corey Todd had been planning to propose to his longtime girlfriend, Jacelyn Penton, when she finished nursing school. He had the engagement ring and band, and hid them in the pocket of a pair of pants in his closet for safe (or so he thought) and secret keeping. 

When it was time to propose, Todd went to retrieve the ring and found that the pants, and therefore the ring, were gone. 

When he ask his fiancée-to-be where the trousers went, she told him she had donated them to Goodwill in an attempt to de-clutter their house. With the ring long gone, Todd was forced to reveal to his girlfriend his plan to propose.  

“The sparkle was gone, and (Penton) didn’t get the surprise moment she should have gotten,” says Pamela Kidwell, director of marketing at Panama City-based jewelry store Maharaja’s. “So we decided to try to put the magic back in the moment.”

The staff at Maharaja’s read of the fiasco in The News Herald, Panama City’s daily newspaper. The story also was covered on national news outlets like the Today show.

“It was one of those things where you think, ‘Hmmm, this seems like an opportunity for a nice thing we could do,’” Kidwell says. “We do community service events all the time, and this seemed like it was right up our alley. (Store owner) Manu Samtani is like a big teddy bear, and likes to help when we can. He’s gone through a robbery and knows the importance of giving back.”

Kidwell visited Todd at the Chili’s restaurant where he works to get the story behind his intended proposal, the lost pants and subsequently lost rings. She said initially, the Maharaja’s staff didn’t have a plan, but wanted to see what they do in terms of righting the situation.

After speaking with Todd, Kidwell invited him and Penton to Maharaja’s for a chat, where they learned the original ring Todd had picked out was not quite what his girlfriend wanted. 

When she left, the jewelers gave Todd a new ring for free--a solitaire diamond ring from Sylvie, more along the lines of what Penton said she envisioned as her engagement ring.

The stage for the proposal then was set. 

Penton works as a nurse at a rehabilitation hospital, so Kidwell and some of Penton’s co-workers got together to stage a fake commercial for the medical building, with Penton’s employees giving her the idea she would be a part of it. 

Penton walked into a hospital room ready to film, but instead was greeted by Todd, down on one knee, proposing with the Sylvie ring. 

“We invited her parents, his parents, their friends and family, and we had a camera crew from a local television and cable station,” Kidwell said of the surprise engagement. “Few people at the hospital were told, so the secret was kept. We snuck everyone in and let it play out.”

A surprised Penton accepted the proposal--and her new ring--and Panama City news outlets updated the story with a happy ending. 

“It’s been a positive thing,” Kidwell says, noting the good deed has brought attention to the jeweler, both in terms of in-store traffic and activity on its Facebook page. “It’s not what we were initially intending--we wanted to help someone we knew from afar--but it played out all the same.”

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