Raymond Ahlstrom’s used to carrying his head down but strangers wanting to shake his hand and say thank you won’t let the homeless Nanaimo man do that any longer.

“I appreciate it,” said one man who approached Ahlstrom. “Everything you did.”

“You made that woman’s Christmas by finding that ring for her,” said another man.

Ahlstrom, who was down on his luck and living on the streets, returned Trinda Gajek’s priceless diamond ring on Tuesday.

He had made it his mission to find the ring and return her generosity. The Salt Spring Island woman had accidentally handed the ring over in change to another homeless man last week, only to realize later it was gone. With Ahlstrom’s connections on the streets and big heart that he’s famous for out here, he made her Christmas wish of getting it back come true.

“Wow that’s incredible,” said  Gajek said when receiving her ring. “Restored faith, renewed hope, all of that. It’s incredible right.”

A grateful Gajek gave Ahlstrom a generous cash reward and strangers are also coming up to him with gift cards and offers of clothing and services. Ahlstrom told CHEK News he really wanted in a makeover to make him look as good outside as he now feels inside.

“I feel great,” said Ahlstrom on Wednesday. “Special day.”

That 50’s Barbershop in Nanaimo offered to do the honours free of charge.

“When I first saw that story on CHEK, I thought there was no way in heck that that lady was getting her ring back,” said Dave Lawrence of That 50’s Barbershop. “So it is quite amazing that she is and I’m very thankful for it. That’s an awesome thing to do.”

His act of kindness could be life-changing. Beyond the new look and recognition, it’s now led to him receiving a home since CHEK News’ story aired.

Anyone who is still interested in donating any clothing or household items to Raymond can drop them off at That 50’s Barbershop on Victoria Crescent in Nanaimo from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm on Dec. 22.

Skye Ryan