Return of Diamond Earrings Touches Owner

Clay Today

June 3, 2010

Terri Newton, left, wearing her diamond earrings, thanks Karen Carlin, manager of Silver Hanger cleaners, for returning the earrings after they were accidently left in clothing sent to the cleaners.

By Christina Leach Phillips


ORANGEPARK– Every so often, something happens that restores one’s faith in the basic honesty of people and of businesses. 

For Terri Newton of Middleburg, it happened recently when she lost a pair of diamond hoop earrings that her husband, David, had given her last Christmas. 

She said she had loaned them to her daughter, Kimberly, to wear for a photograph, and, when Kimberly handed them to her afterwards,Newtonplaced them in her pants pocket. 

A few days later, she was getting ready for work and decided to wear the earrings but couldn’t find them.  Then, she remembered that she had put them in her pants pocket. 

According toNewton: “I can’t remember what pair of pants they were in. I begin searching frantically. I checked all my pants pockets hanging in my closet. It hit me… my husband had dropped off the bag of clothes at the cleaners on Monday. Here it is on Thursday. . . I have to get to the cleaners.” 

“I couldn’t get downBlanding Boulevardfast enough,” she said. 

On the way to the dry cleaners, she said she prayed that God would put someone who is honest in her path, so the earrings would be found. 

Newtonsaid that when she got to the Silver Hanger Cleaners onBlanding BoulevardinOrangePark, she was so upset that she could barely get the words out to ask Karen Carlin, the store’s manager, if she had found the earrings. 

When Carlin responded, “‘Yes, I have them in a little envelope waiting for you,’”Newtonsaid, “I can’t tell you how I felt. My eyes filled with tears, I began to cry . . . my makeup ran . . . I could barely breathe.” 

Carlin, who has worked at the Silver Hanger Cleaners for about 11 years, didn’t seem to think that returning the earrings was a big deal. 

“I’m kind of embarrassed by all the attention,” she said. “That’s our policy here.  If we find anything, it’s returned to the customer.”  

Carlin said she routinely checks the pockets of clothing when customers drop them off, because customers leave a lot of items in their pockets — “money or otherwise.” 

When she found Newton’s earrings, Carlin said she placed them in a little bag and stapled it to the ticket.  “A couple of days later, Ms. Newton came in a panic, and all I had to do was to find her order,” she said. 

Phil O, the owner of Silver Hanger Cleaners as well as Island Cleaners inFlemingIsland, describes Carlin as a “wonderful, hard-working employee” and a “very honest person.” 

“Our company policy is that everything that we find, we have to return to the customer, regardless of what it is — even if it is a piece of paper.” 

He said they also recently found a two carat diamond solitaire engagement ring and $700 in cash, which they returned to their customers. 

Newton, who noted that she has not always had good experiences with dry cleaners, said this incident has restored her faith, not just in dry cleaners, but in companies in general.  

“Companies generally don’t have employees that are as honest, especially nowadays.  It’s rough times out there — anybody could have taken that and pawned it,” Newton said. 

“I was thankful that this business and dry cleaner would be so honest and hold these for me. These earrings were a gift from my wonderful husband of 28 years, and they are valued at over $1,400,” she said. “Just knowing that Silver Hanger Cleaners is an honest company to do business with will continue to make me a faithful customer, and I thank God for people like them.”