HOWELL TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Mike Walsh's one wish before he dies was granted Friday, thanks to a stranger who found and kept the 57-year-old man's lost ring in the hopes the owner would be found.
Walsh said he returned home Friday from a doctor's appointment to find a message from Norman Floyd, who indicated he found the ring. Walsh said he didn't believe it at first, but Floyd reassured him that it is the same ring he lost Oct. 7 while at a Costco 20 miles away in Green Oak Township, Mich.
"We all cried," Walsh, of Howell Township, Mich., said. "He didn't want any reward. He and his wife were wonderful people. I think I got a good friend, and he helped restore my faith."
Walsh, who is dying from pancreatic cancer, had visited the Costco after a chemotherapy session. He said the gold coin ring featuring a running gazelle slipped off his finger either inside the store or in the parking lot.
Floyd, of Pinckney, Mich., said he and his wife were leaving Costco when he noticed the ring lying about a foot from the exit doors. He picked it up and waited in case someone claimed the ring. When no one came forward, the 77-year-old man said he took the ring home, where he checked the lost-and-found advertisements to see whether someone was looking for it.
Floyd put the ring away and forgot about it. He and his wife took a trip to Arkansas and completed a color tour in northern Michigan before returning home.
The couple decided to toss out the newspapers they had missed during their vacation, but his wife opened Friday's (Livingston County, Mich.) Daily Press & Argus and immediately told her husband: "You're not going to believe this. You better read this."
Floyd read the story about Walsh losing his ring and his desire to find it so his wife could have it when he dies. Floyd said he knew the ring he found belonged to Walsh.
"I called him and told him to come on over; I've got your ring," said Floyd.
The two men agreed that their meeting was supposed to happen as it did, and they said a friendship has been born because of it. In those first steps of friendship, the men learned they are also linked through similar diagnoses.
Walsh, a retired Ford Motor Co. employee, is dying from pancreatic cancer. He said he's tried every drug available to him and there is nothing else left to do. He estimated he has three to six months to live.
Floyd, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer about three years ago, is in remission.
"I've been riding good for a year," said Floyd, whose family recently celebrated the birth of his fourth great-grandchild.
Walsh said the ring's return is priceless to him because he knows he will die sooner rather than later and his wedding ring is the one material possession he wants his wife, Cheryl, to have.
The couple met when Mike Walsh helped two couples who were stuck near his buddy's nightclub during a snowstorm. Although Cheryl Walsh was on a date with someone else, Mike Walsh kept asking her to dance until she gave him her number.
They've been together ever since, marrying on March 29, 1980. They never really liked his original wedding ring and near their first anniversary, Mike Walsh said, they found the gold coin ring, which was perfect, and she bought it for him to replace the original band.
"I'm going to leave her, and I'd like her to have my wedding ring," Mike Walsh said. "I wore it every day. I wore it through the hard times. I wore it through the good times. I wore it through the broke times."
Lisa Roose-Church, (Livingston County, Mich.) Daily Press & Argus