District News

Lost and found: A happy ending

Posted on: October 29, 2015

A lunchbox is left behind on a bus. A jacket is forgotten on the playground. In a school district of more than 4,000 students and 400 staff members, objects and their owners are sometimes parted.

In the case of notebooks, water bottles and the like, items may never be reunited with their owners. Sweatshirts and paperback novels languish in the lost and found bin, never to be claimed and without much concern over the loss.

But what if one were to lose something more valuable -- significantly more valuable and more meaningful than the run-of-the-mill water bottle? Who at Little Miami would you call on to help find that precious object?

If you ask Jill Sandman, her first call would be to Little Miami Junior High custodian Dave Gilbert.

After getting home from work one day recently, Sandman was horrified to notice that the diamond was missing from her wedding ring. Sandman, who works as a special education aide at the junior high, had been in Mandi Ricketts’ classroom most of the day. She dashed back to school and asked Gilbert, who is the second shift custodian, to unlock the door so that she could search the classroom, but she found nothing. Sandman quickly came to the realization that students had been in and out of the classroom multiple times and the diamond could have hitchhiked in the tread of a sneaker to any location in the building and beyond.

Gilbert told her that he would carefully sweep that evening, but both knew the odds were slim of finding the stone. He gingerly picked through the dusty residue of some other classrooms he had cleaned, but without any luck.

After Sandman had gone home, Gilbert continued on his cleaning rounds, which included mopping the boys’ and girls’ bathrooms. In one of the restrooms, miracle of miracles, he found it.

“When I hit it with my mop, I knew it,” Gilbert said. He bent down and found Sandman’s stone caught in the fibers of the mop head.

“I picked it up and put it in my shirt pocket,” he said. “But then I got worried that in doing my cleaning, it would fall out and I would lose it again.”

He found an envelope and tucked the stone inside, then left Ricketts a voicemail to tell Sandman he found it.

When Sandman came in the next day, she was elated.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” she said. “It is just so great that he found it and I really feel like he needs to be recognized for finding it. I don’t think that our custodial staff gets much attention and I wanted him to get noticed for such an honorable deed.”

Not only did Sandman thank him that day, she followed up with a thank you card and a generous gift card to Bass Pro Shops.