April 19, 2017


The Miss Rose Diamond: An Unusual Customer Service Story

During the 1960s and 1970s, my Grama Lee was an employee at the Social Security office in Florida. She was in customer service.

In those days, many retirees would make the drive over to the Social Security office to pick up their checks and hand deliver them for deposit at their local bank. Online banking and direct deposits weren’t available back then, and having the check mailed delayed receiving it by a few days.

Grama Lee had a regular customer whose first name was Rose. By the time I heard this story, in 1996, Grama had forgotten the lady’s last name. But the story is true, and amazing.

For many years, Miss Rose would come to see Grama every month to pick up her check.  She came in and visited for a few minutes each time, and she and Grama became friends.  Many times when they were visiting, my Grama would compliment Miss Rose on the solitaire diamond ring that she wore.  Over time, the full story of the ring was told.  This is how Grama told it to me:

Miss Rose was at the train station, saying goodbye to her Beloved who was being sent off to fight in the first World War. It might have been around 1917, but Miss Rose never said the year.

“Wait for me, Rose,” he said, while slipping the ring on her finger.  She said yes.  And, she waited.  Her Beloved didn’t make it home, though. Still, she waited. When she was coming in for those social security checks she was alone, with no family left at all.

So romantic, right?

Fast forward to Grama Lee’s retirement around 1975.  Then, seven years after she retired, Grama gets a letter from an attorney.  Miss Rose had decided to leave that beautiful diamond solitaire ring to Grama Lee “who had always been so kind to her.”  She had no family, of course, having lived to an old age with no descendants.  The attorney had spent years trying to find my Grama.  She wore the ring for many years.

Then, when my Grama married her third husband and the love of her life when she was 72 (that’s another story) she passed Miss Rose’s ring down to me. I wore it for a couple of years, and when my husband proposed we decided to use the stone in my engagement ring.  It seemed like the perfect ending to the story of Miss Rose’s ring. I cherish both the story and the ring that represents my Grama’s kindness.