BOSTON (CBS) -- This is the time of year when the Salvation Army depends on kind-hearts to stuff dollar bills into those red kettles – and brighten the holidays for folks in need.
But as staffers in Cambridge were counting up the day's receipts last Wednesday they made a stunning discovery.
"We were just blown away," says Lt. Michael Harper. He's talking about the discovery of a three diamond engagement ring and a gold wedding band dropped into a kettle just outside North Station.
It was accompanied by a note from an anonymous widow, explaining the gift was to honor the memory of her late husband – who she described as a "giver."
"It's such a deeply sacrificial gift," says Lt. Harper, "of something that is obviously priceless to her."
The 'priceless' rings came along with a more worldly appraisal approaching $2,000. But it wasn't the money that struck a chord with folks -- as word of the good deed spread.
"I think it's beautiful," a woman at North Station told us. "We can all take inspiration from that to have a wonderful holiday and share it with other people."
The mystery donor indicated she was hopeful the rings would fund more toys for needy children – but her note also issued a friendly challenge, of sorts. It expresses hope that someone who has made a lot of money this year will buy the rings for ten times their worth.
"That would provide even more toys for children," says Lt. Harper.
So now, the Salvation Army is hoping some benefactor touched by the woman's kindness might step up to the plate and join in her vision.
"There's no price on love or the sentimental value of this ring," her note says. "But money will help the kids."
"We intend on doing everything in our power to help her honor her husband," pledges Lt. Harper.
And in the meantime, the Salvation Army would love to track down the ring lady – just to say "thanks."
For more information on donating to the Salvation Army, please visit: www.salvationarmyma.org
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