When Cody Webb looked down at his empty left hand on the steering wheel as he drove away from Dalton following a brief stop here, he didn’t think he’d ever see his wedding band again.
The country music artist and Nashville, Tennessee, resident had stopped with his wife, Hayley, and one-year-old daughter, Josie, for a picnic lunch on their way to visit family in South Carolina.
“We had to cancel all of our tour dates through the spring and summer, so we’ve had a lot of family time,” Webb said. “Usually I’d be on the road. Dalton is kind of our normal stop when we drive back to South Carolina, where we’re both from.”
The family went through the Zaxby’s drive-thru and on to Dalton’s Waterfall Park to eat. It began to rain, and the two parents hurriedly gathered the family's things.
After throwing away the trash and driving miles down the interstate, Webb noticed the ring was absent.
“My heart dropped,” he said. “I thought it was gone.”
Webb called the Dalton Parks and Recreation Department, where Lydia Hudgins, a part-time receptionist, answered the phone.
“It was probably like 5 p.m., and I had to go somewhere after work, so I went over there,” Hudgins said. “I just kind of took it upon myself, because I thought I might know where it was at.”
Webb had no idea where the ring was, but replayed throwing away the trash again.
“I ran over and threw some things away, and I ran my hands through the wet grass to kind of rinse them off,” he said. "I thought it might could have slipped off then.”
“Sure enough, there it was, right where he thought it was,” Hudgins said. “I immediately knew it was his, because it had his initials on it.”
Hudgins called Webb back, who offered to pay for her efforts. Hudgins politely declined, and a few days and a mail delivery later, Webb’s ring was back on his finger.
Webb made a lengthy post on his public Facebook page, which boasts almost 40,000 fans, telling the story and thanking Hudgins for her willingness to find and mail the ring.
“I didn’t realize just how much I made his day by doing that,” Hudgins said.
For Hudgins, it wasn’t a big deal or a grand gesture. She simply put herself in Webb’s shoes.
“I know if it was me, and I lost my wedding ring, I would be devastated,” Hudgins said.
Webb said he and his family are thankful for Hudgins' kindness, and that the ring was returned.
“I hope I can pay it forward and make somebody feel like she made me feel,” Webb said.