One day after receiving an expensive engagement ring on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” the local couple who lost their engagement ring in the Loose Park pond announced that it had already been found — days before.
Seth Dixon — who fumbled his engagement ring into the pond during his proposal to Ruth Salas of Liberty on Sept. 9 — said Wednesday that Kimmel’s staff was already aware the ring had been found when the couple appeared on the show Tuesday night.
The ring was found Saturday afternoon by a Good Samaritan who drove up from Springfield, Mo. Dixon and Salas found out at least by Monday.
“Even with them knowing everything, they still decided to bless us with a new ring,” Dixon, an Uber driver from Warrensburg, said on his Facebook page on Wednesday. “After the show, we again mentioned the ring situation. They again said they wanted us to keep the new ring!”
On Facebook, Dixon explained their appearance on the Kimmel show, in which they received an oval-cut diamond ring and re-enacted the proposal on a set built to resemble the bridge at Loose Park. A video of the original proposal, which Kimmel showed, had gone viral, capturing headlines worldwide.
“We were completely shocked by what happened last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live. We didn’t expect a thing. The entire time we’ve been in Los Angeles, we thought we were here for an interview with 20/20. It ended up being a big cover up so that they could surprise us. They got us good!
“They also made it clear to us before the show that we weren’t going to be on air, but that we were just audience guests. Another cover up! Throughout the week, we have been in constant communication with 20/20 and they have been made aware that we found the ring, but it wasn’t in our possession yet. We have been completely honest with them during this entire process.”
On Facebook, Dixon also thanked Michael Long, a stranger to the couple who found the ring.
“The point is I wanted to go up there and help a couple out,” Long, 29, and a truck driver, said Wednesday by phone. “It was an adventure for me.”
Earlier on Saturday, several divers in wet suits from The Dive Shop in Merriam had scoured the bottom of the pond beneath the bridge for hours, but had no luck. After they were done, Long, dressed in a T-shirt and shorts and wearing swim goggles, entered the water, holding on to a bucket of rocks to stay rooted to the bottom of the pond.
He also brought a metal detector. He worked for four hours, finding nails and lost toys, until finally, he found the ring, caked in mud.
“First thing I did was jump out of the pond and I’m running to the people around me and I was like, ‘Do you think this thing is real?’” Long said. “It’s a shock, like, ‘Did I really just find this thing?’”
He initially had hoped to wait until the couple returned from California to personally surprise them. Instead, about 20 minutes after pulling the ring from the water, he contacted a close friend of the couple’s.
On Monday, he reached Dixon and told him.
“I gave it back to the friend on Tuesday,” Long said. “The point was, I wanted to be nice to get the ring back to him before someone else found it and stole it.”
Long said that he later spoke to someone presumably from television who talked to him about finding the ring and telling him about some of what was planned for Dixon and Salas.
On Saturday, Laura Soliday of Kansas City was walking in Loose Park with a friend when Long found the ring. She was impressed with his kind gesture, but was equally disappointed to see Dixon and Salas accept a new ring on Kimmel’s show without acknowledging that the original had been recovered.
“He is just the absolutely the nicest guy,” Soliday said of Long. “The lack of recognition that this guy worked really hard, drove all the way from Springfield and gets no credit. He deserves a reward. He did this because he thought it would help someone.”
No word yet on what Dixon and Salas plan to do with an extra ring. Their wedding is scheduled for Oct. 21.