- Ariel Winton-Jones was reunited with her engagement ring after losing it in Tokyo.
- Winton-Jones told Insider that she credits both TikTok and Tokyo’s unique lost and found system.
- She said she didn’t think the ring would have been returned if she had lost it in the US.
Ariel Winton-Jones, an American woman who is traveling around Japan, says she thought her engagement ring was gone forever after she lost it in Tokyo last week.
But to Winton-Jones’ surprise, the ring was returned after two days thanks to strangers on social media, the kindness of the Japanese public, and the city’s unique lost and found system.
Speaking to Insider on Tuesday, Winton-Jones, 29, said she and her husband, Kevin, live in Boston and are currently on a 12-day trip around Japan for Kevin’s 30th birthday. They noticed the ring was missing the day after they landed in Tokyo on May 23, shortly after attending an exercise class in the early hours of the morning.
Later that day, Winton-Jones made a public appeal on TikTok and Twitter to ask if anyone in Tokyo had seen the ring.
Winton-Jones explained that the ring had sentimental value as it had the same diamond that her father used to propose to her mother. Her father died unexpectedly three months before Winton-Jones’ wedding in October 2021.
Speaking to Insider, Winton-Jones said she felt “paralyzed and numb” after first realizing she lost it, and compared the feeling to “the early days of grief.”
“I couldn’t snap out of it,” she said. “It’s by far the most significant material object that I have left behind from him, so it really sucked.”
Winton-Jones said she and Kevin immediately retraced their steps and asked employees at local businesses, train stations, and the hotel they were staying if they had seen the ring. They also handed out flyers with photos of the ring.
When they realized that nobody had found it, Winton-Jones said she decided to make an appeal on TikTok despite never having posted anything on the platform before.
“I had seen videos on TikTok… people will post, ‘I met this guy, help me find him.’ Maybe I can do the same thing, but for my ring. It seemed kind of ridiculous because I don’t have a following on TikTok,” she said.
The next morning, she said she woke up to numerous messages from people online who encouraged her to keep searching for the ring, while others informed her about Tokyo’s unique lost and found system and encouraged her to fill out a lost item report.
In Tokyo, those who lose personal items are encouraged to fill out a lost property form and hand it into a police station or complete it online, according to Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s website. If an item is found, the person who listed it will be contacted with the details they provided in the initial form, or they can also check online to see whether the item has been found using the police’s official database, the website states.
Two days after the ring first went missing, the couple received a call at their hotel informing them that the ring had been handed in to a police station after it had been found at Tokyo Station.
Winton-Jones told Insider that the police were able to identify the ring that had been found using the information she provided in the lost property report as well as the photo of the ring on the flyer.
“A lot of Japanese people have commented on my Twitter post, saying they are taught from a young age to bring items to the police, which I don’t think is a thing in the states,” Winton-Jones said, adding that she wouldn’t have expected to ever get the ring back if she had lost it in the US.
“A diamond ring? They would just take it home and sell it,” she said.
In addition to traveling, Winton-Jones said she is currently focusing on promoting the Gregory S. Winton, Esq. Scholarship which supports aspiring pilots who can’t afford flying lessons in honor of her father, who was a pilot and flight instructor.
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