Wellesley’s Felicity Bortolan used to remove her wedding ring before showering. But that routine is no more after a close call this past Saturday morning during a dump run.
“I’m completely fanatical about where I put stuff and my ring, I always take off and put in the same place when I shower,” she says of the jewelry, which marks 21 years of marriage to her husband Paul. “However there were tissues and other things that were on the counter and these covered my ring. In the sheer hurriedness of getting to the dump I swept the trash off the counter and tied the bag. Paul took it to the dump.”
He came home shortly after the dump drop to pick up Felicity to run an errand. She took a pass, but their son Sean and daughter Olivia were game. Felicity instead gave her mom a call. That’s when she realized she hadn’t put the ring back on.
“I literally dropped the phone to get upstairs, but deep down I knew it wasn’t there,” Felicity says.
Back to the dump
Her next call was to Paul, whose wisely cut the errand run short. The Bortolans mobilized and headed back to the dump for one of their more unusual family outings: Operation Diamonds.
“I couldn’t speak, I was very emotional” upon arriving at the RDF, she says. Her son Sean ran off and found the RDF’s Phil Barton. “He came immediately, put up cones and switched the compactor off.”
A truck was organized in minutes to haul the compacted trash to a covered warehouse section behind the RDF office, and the the trash was then dumped out all over the warehouse floor.
“Was it smelly? Yes, a bit. It didn’t bother us. The worst part was the liquid pouring from the truck and the guy warning us that it could be a really grim situation when was dumped. ‘So just prepare yourself, he said!’ But there was no hesitation from anyone to start raking through the bags,” she recalls.
Fortunately, the family had a pretty clear timeline, which gave the RDF staff a sense of where the bag might be based on the number of times the compactor had been switched on. They also knew that the bag had a red tie. “So swiftly those got pulled from the wreckage,” Felicity says.
Man with a plan
Paul bought the ring in Boston during a business trip/vacation years ago, before his company relocation from South Africa coincidentally landed him back in Boston, and the family settled in Wellesley. As events unfolded, Paul formulated a plan of attack for getting the ring back. Failure was not an option.
Paul knew a charcoal packet was the first thing he’d put into the bag with the ring, so he began ripping open the bottom of bags with red ties. On the 5th or 6th try, he found the right one.
That’s when the recovery crew really started to sift through the trash, pulling stuff apart.
“It’s nerve wracking, the looking and not finding it,” Felicity says. “In one moment Paul said to me ‘It’s not here.’ But seconds later I found it. I was overjoyed! Everyone was!”
Thanks all around
Felicity says she was overwhelmed by how everyone pulled together.
“My ring is a mere item to everyone, it means nothing to anybody except me,” she says. “But the team completely appreciated that fact.”
Felicity says, “I cannot express my thankfulness, gratefulness, and appreciation enough of the Wellesley RDF team.”
She also heaped praise on her family, including eldest son Brandon, who wasn’t there but was very concerned. Passersby, too, earned her respect, as they offered gloves and words of encouragement.
As for the RDF employees, Felicity wanted to recognize them by name:
- Phil Barton
- Tyler Greene
- Owen Johansson
- Nick Wozniac
- Jim Adamackis
- Art Cafarelli
The efforts by these and other RDF employees came as no surprise to others as word of the Bortolans’ Saturday morning drama spread on social media.
Others recalled having somewhat similar experiences involving jewelry and wallets. Then there were our own notorious misadventures accidentally bringing library books to the book swap area.
So the heroics of the RDF staff never seem to change. But Felicity’s handling of her wedding ring will.
“Needless to say I will not take it off again!” she says. “That routine of putting it on the counter is gone forever.”
More: The great Wellesley necklace hunt: From parking lot to vacuum bag