05/17/2012 04:41 pm ET

Waste Management Workers Help Woman Find Lost Rings In 15 Tons Of Trash

A woman who accidentally threw away five of her favorite rings was reunited with them after workers helped her sift through 15 tons of trash, CBS Boston reports.

Deb Kirby from Attleboro, Mass., said she had taken off the five rings -- which included her wedding and engagement rings, as well as a ring from her father -- to dry them on paper towels after washing her hands before dinner.

The next morning, Kirby awoke to find that the rings were missing. Alarmed, she left for work but returned during her lunch break to carry out a more thorough search.

"I just could not figure out where I put those rings. I only ever put them in two places," Kirby told the Boston Globe. "As I was driving back to the office, I had a wave of panic as I remembered the paper towels, and I knew in my heart that I threw those rings away."

Kirby figured she must've accidentally thrown the rings out with the paper towels when she was cleaning up after dinner, and called Aaron Smith, the district manager of Waste Management, the trash hauler for Attleboro.

"My voice was shaking," Kirby recalled. "I said, 'Aaron, I’m completely freaking out, I believe I threw away my wedding rings.'"

Smith told the Boston Globe that he was moved by Kirby's story and was "compelled…to make every effort to recover the items."

Making a few phone calls, Smith figured out that the truck that was carrying Kirby's precious jewelry was not far from the incinerator. "It was close, very close to getting there," he said, adding that the truck was immediately redirected to a transfer station where the trash bags -- all 15 tons of them -- were unloaded.

"I thought I would be all by myself in a pile of trash digging for this," Kirby told CBS Boston.

But she didn't have to worry. A crew of eight Waste Management workers dug in with her.

After narrowing their search to between 100 and 200 bags, Kirby and the crew began to search bag by bag.

Soon, one of the workers found Kirby's jewelry.

"I just ran over to him sliding through the trash, and I hugged him and I hugged them all and I was so happy," she said.

According to the Sun Chronicle, Kirby was "so very impressed" by the Waste Management crew.

"They could have very easily said there’s no way you’re going to find those rings. But they took the extra steps and they made the effort and it paid off," she said