family treasure

The Search for a Sentimental Family Treasure — in the Thick of a Pandemic

After a Chicago woman searched high and low, she turned to NBC 5 Responds

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When Angie Campbell sat down to state her case to NBC5 Responds, she told us she was at her wit’s end.

The item she entrusted to a national jewelry chain for repair and had searched for through months of the pandemic was still missing. She told us it was a watch, but not just any watch.

It belonged to her beloved Aunt Bonnie, who she had lost to breast cancer just last December.

“She was my Auntie Mame, my Mary Poppins. All that and more,” Angie told NBC5 Responds.

Aunt Bonnie had a signature piece of jewelry: a Movado watch that she wore for many years of her life. And a signature line to go with it.

“She always said, ‘You have to have a good watch to have a good time,’” and Angie said that line never failed to break the ice. “She just had a certain pixie dust. She would light up a room.”

More like a mom to her than an aunt, Angie says the inherited Movado would be her way to keep Bonnie’s guiding light in her life.

In February, on her commute home from downtown, Angie says she stopped in to a Kay Jewelers in the Loop. All she needed, she says, was a new battery.

The sales rep told her he’d send her watch out and have it back, good as new, in a couple weeks, she says.

Then: the coronavirus changed everything.

Like other stores, Kay shut its doors. After weeks of asking for a status, Angie says her calls and emails went unanswered. She says she dug deep for patience.

“I just collected myself and thought, this too shall pass. I will get the watch back. I have to patient with these people. It’s not their fault. There’s a worldwide pandemic going on right now,” she told NBC 5 Responds.

That was April. By late May, the Loop showed signs of reopening, and Angie held on to her hope.

Until the riots the night of May 31.

“I was watching the 10 o’clock news and I saw the Kay store! There was rioting and looting and I thought, ‘Oh my god, am I ever going to get my watch back?!’" Angie stated.

More weeks followed, Angie says, marked only by silence from Kay Jewelers and its parent company, Signet. She offered to fly or drive to wherever her watch might be stored.

“I called every day. I know I was bugging the bejeebies out of them,” Angie says.

When her efforts and pleas failed, Angie says she had one more card to play.

“I thought about emailing NBC5 Responds. At first, I thought: no, we are in the middle of a crisis…but then, my friend said, ‘This is not right!’, and so I did it,” Angie told us.

Our call to Kay’s corporate office got Angie her long overdue delivery.

The company did not answer our specific questions, but did offer this statement:
“Nothing is more important to us than the trust and satisfaction of our customers, as we help millions celebrate life and express love each year. This is especially true when it comes to the responsibility of caring for the jewelry entrusted to us. We are pleased to inform you that we returned our customer’s watch to her in early September. We understand the deep sentimental value it holds to her, and have expressed our most sincere apologies for the delay, as we worked to return her watch through our temporary store closings due to COVID-19 in the Spring, and as they safely reopened in the Summer.

“I just about fell over. I couldn’t believe it,” Angie said. “You guys had my watch back to me in three business days.”

Watching Angie model her Aunt Bonnie classic is a thing of pure joy.

“Isn’t it so beautiful?"

Pointing up an idea Angie says she now fully embraces.

“Aunt Bonnie was so right. You really do have to have a good watch to have a good time!"

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