One 6-year-old boy found a true treasure while surfing at Banyans beach in Kona, Hawaii.
As little Max Germond was shredding the waves with his buddy on Sept. 10, his friend lost the fin off his surfboard. In their hunt to find the fin however, they found something much more precious instead -- a 1997 gold class ring with the student’s name, David R. Kidder, still engraved inside.
"My friend, as he was snorkeling for his fin, he found his fin and then he found the ring,” Max, of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, told ABC News. “And then he was so happy about his fin, he just gave the ring to me. I thought it was cool.”
Max was so excited about his newfound “shiny and sparkly” treasure that he ran the piece of jewelry up to his dad, Philip Bolek, to show him on the beach.
“You could still see the date and the year on the side,” Max’s mom, Michelle Germond, explained. “There was some corrosion on it but you could see the school name. And with social media, it’s so easy to find people these days. We went on the high school’s group page and found David through there.”
Turns out David Kidder lost his class ring in that exact same surf spot 18 years ago, the day after his senior prom, and even though all this time has passed, he still remembers the moment he noticed it was missing from his finger like it was yesterday.
“It was the day after my senior prom,” Kidder recalled. “I went out body boarding at that surf spot, and right when I jumped out into the water, it fell off right then. It was a high surf so I couldn’t sit there and look for it because it would be dangerous. It sucked, but I just chalked it up as a loss and had to move on. What else are you going to do?”
He was particularly upset to lose it because he had worked really hard to save up for the 14 karat gold ring himself, which he remembers costing somewhere in the range of $360 to $500 dollars.
“I was working a part-time job to save up for the ring so I was really bummed to lose it,” Kidder explained. “I was getting paid per hour at minimum wage. It was my responsibility and I wanted to do it. My mom was already helping me with the cap and gown and this was a more cosmetic thing.”
Kidder is a Kona local himself and was floored the ring was still there, unmoved by the ocean’s currents or another beachcomber’s wandering eye.
“I was shocked. I didn’t really believe them off the bat when they messaged me,” he said. “I haven’t been to that spot for a couple years. They said, ‘It has your name David R. Kidder,’ and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, no way!’ It blew me away. Instantaneously, I knew what it was. That’s the only thing I ever lost there.”
On Sept. 13, Max and his parents arranged to meet Kidder at Banyans, the place that brought these strangers together in the first place, to return the ring to its rightful owner.
“18 years later the ring is still here, he’s still right here. It was meant to be,” Germond added.
“When I met them on Saturday and they showed it to me, I was pretty impressed,” said Kidder. “It looked really good, it had some coral growing on it. It probably got stuck in a rock and coral grew over it, but it’s still in really, really great shape. There was no discoloration.”
The grateful Kidder even gave little Max a nice finder’s fee.
“They took the time and energy to look me up,” he said. “I figured, what little kid doesn’t want an extra 20 bucks in his pocket? They were really nice to me so why not reciprocate the feeling.”
But for Max, it was a no-brainer. The second-grader said he was happy to return to the ring “because it made David feel happy.”
The studious little surfer hasn’t spent the $20 reward just yet because “I’m saving it for a toy,” said Max. “Maybe a new book.”
His mom is just thrilled this entire situation has been a good teaching tactic for her young son.
“It’s just such a good lesson,” said Germond. “On Tuesday, Max’s teacher showed the video from the news to the whole class and it turned into a lesson about being a good person and doing the right thing. He walked up to me that night and said, ‘Mom, I’m community contributor.’ For Max to be a role model for people to do the right thing, that was so nice.”
“It’s good to know there’s still people out there that are not just about themselves,” Kidder added. “They were still nice enough to try and help others. It’s such a positive experience instead of the negativity that everybody always sees."