Kevin Klein was unloading recycling at the Sultan Drop Box when his wedding ring fell off into the huge recycling bin. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Kevin Klein was unloading recycling at the Sultan Drop Box when his wedding ring fell off into the huge recycling bin. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

He lost his wedding ring in a two-ton bin of recyclables

Kevin Klein gave up hope in finding his simple gold band, but this dumpster dive had a happy ending.

SULTAN — Kevin Klein found himself waist-deep in a dumpster last Friday, frantically shuffling through cardboard boxes to find the wedding ring that had just slipped off his finger.

He didn’t say anything to his wife, who accompanied him to the Sultan Drop Box to recycle the last of their moving boxes.

They recently bought their rental house north of Monroe, putting down roots in Snohomish County after the pandemic foiled their plans to travel the world for a year with their daughters, both 7.

Klein left his job of 10 years at Amazon and his wife, Stacey, quit her job as a pilot in preparation for their 2020 travels, a globetrotting adventure dubbed Project Ohana. Nine weeks and four countries later, COVID-19 landed them back in the United States. The Kleins found property in Snohomish County and turned their Project Ohana inward to focus on healthy living and shedding some weight.

Klein lost about 50 pounds by December, but he hadn’t gotten his wedding ring re-sized. That’s when it slipped off his finger into two tons of cardboard, paper and stray garbage.

Klein let an employee know about his lost ring, but he didn’t hold out much hope.

“I thought for sure there was no way we were going to find it,” he said. “I’m thinking: How am I going to tell my wife I lost my wedding ring right before Christmas?”

Klein got his simple, white gold wedding band when he married Stacey in 2012.

Kevin Klein and his found wedding ring. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Kevin Klein and his found wedding ring. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

“It’s got this patina on it that’s just perfect on me,” he said. “I was sad to have to replace it.”

The drop box shut down the bedroom-sized bin holding the ring for the rest of the day. Chances were the ring was long gone in a truck headed west. Solid Waste Operations Supervisor Casey Jones told Klein to meet him at the Cathcart Way Operations Center in Snohomish the next morning to comb through the bin’s contents.

Klein brought a metal detector, but the metal-lined floors rendered it useless to find the ring.

Solid waste truck drivers Jamie Dearn and Rocky Ogden spread the recycling out in a 30-foot-long, 2-foot-high pile on the ground.

After 45 minutes of sifting, Dearn told Klein he didn’t think they’d find the ring.

That’s when he pulled the band out of his pocket — he’d found it moments before, beneath a piece of cardboard.

His reward was Klein’s relief.

Kevin Klein’s simple, white gold wedding band. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Kevin Klein’s simple, white gold wedding band. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

“He was so appreciative,” Jones said.

Klein’s gratitude cheered up solid waste employees juggling a pandemic-induced uptick in customers and tonnage while upholding strict COVID-19 protocol.

“It’s wearing on them,” Jones said.

About once or twice a year, customers lose something important at a waste facility and realize in time to look, he said. In his 20 years with solid waste, they’ve only found the missing item one other time.

“It was a total of three hours of our time,” Jones said. “To get a wedding ring, it’s just the right thing to do.”

Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439;; Twitter: @sanders_julia.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A big decision for Boeing’s next CEO: Is it time for a new plane?

As Boeing faces increased competition from Airbus, the company is expected to appoint a new CEO by the end of the year.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Two workers walk past a train following a press event at the Lynnwood City Center Link Station on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Trains up and running on Lynnwood Link — but no passengers quite yet

Officials held an event at the Lynnwood station announcing the start of “pre-revenue” service. Passengers still have to wait till August.

Nedra Vranish, left, and Karen Thordarson, right browse colorful glass flowers at Fuse4U during Sorticulture on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A promenade through Everett’s popular Sorticulture garden festival

Check out a gallery of the festival’s first day.

Left to right, Everett Pride board members Ashley Turner, Bryce Laake, and Kevin Daniels pose for a photo at South Fork Bakery in Everett, Washington on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Second Everett Pride aims for even bigger rainbow of festivities

Organizers estimated about 3,000 people attended the first block party in Everett. This year, they’re aiming for 10,000.

A house fire seriously injured two people Friday evening, June 14, in Edmonds, Washington. (Courtesy of South County Fire.)
1 killed, 1 with life-threatening injuries in Edmonds house fire

South County Fire crews pulled the man and woman from the burning home around 6 p.m. Friday, near 224th Street SW and 72nd Place W.

Melinda Grenier serves patrons at her coffee truck called Hay Girl Coffee during the third annual Arlington Pride event in Arlington, Washington on Sunday, June 2, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Hidden costs, delays crush hopeful food truck owners in Snohomish County

Melinda Grenier followed her dream to open Hay Girl Coffee. Thousands in fees later, it has cost her more than she bargained for.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 529 squeeze starts now between Everett, Marysville

Following a full closure for a night, starting late Sunday, Highway 529 will slim down to two lanes for months near the Snohomish River Bridge.

New Jersey auto group purchases Lynnwood Lexus dealership land

Holman, which owns Lexus of Seattle in Lynnwood, bought property on which the dealership resides.

Marvin Arellano (Photo provided)
Family: ‘Manic episode’ preceded trooper shooting man on I-5 near Everett

“It’s very, very unfortunate how he was portrayed in his final moments,” Gilbert Arellano said. “He was just such a good person.”

Two visitors comb the beach at Kayak Point Regional County Park on Friday, June 14, 2024, in Tulalip, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Kayak Point reopens ahead of schedule

The county’s most popular park reopened Friday.

Grauates throw their caps in the air at the end of Arlington High School graduation at Angel of the Winds Arena on Thursday, June 13, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘So worth it’: Snohomish County graduates step into their futures

Alyssa Acosta, who is Harvard-bound, was one of thousands to walk the stage at Angel of the Winds Arena this month to get high school diplomas.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.