I don't know what kind of person this makes me - or if it even makes me a certain kind of person at all - but when I found the ring taped to the bottom of my shelf, it 100% never crossed my mind to try to find the original owner. In fact, when I re-told the story to a co-worker a couple days later, and she said, "well, do you have any contact info about previous owners so you can try and return it?" I was surprised I hadn't even thought of that.
But logically, the whole thing didn't really make sense. Obviously taping a ring in a jewelry bag to the bottom of a shelf - and then forgetting about it - is something the old woman (original owner) would be more likely to do than any of the other inhabitants of the house. BUT, I had always sort of thought the addition had been put on by the owners of the house before me, NOT by the original owners. Also, no one had ever contacted me to ask about it. I'd imagine if it were one of the younger previous inhabitants of the house, they would contact me, explain their crazy story about how they'd left it there, and I absolutely would have given it back. But no one had.
So in the end, we made no effort to return it to anyone. We knew the first owners of the house were no longer alive - and on hand, we didn't have any contact information for their potential beneficiaries. (I'm sure with Memphis being as small as it is, we could've found someone - but still, it seems like a weird call to make: "hi, I have a ring set that could've potentially belonged to your grandmother" [but then there's still the mystery of the timing of the addition, which I'm pretty sure was not put on by the original owners.])
So the ring remains ours. And actually, my mom had it re-set for herself in a new ring that incorporates the diamonds from her & my step dad's old wedding bands.
And then there's the story from the news - the man who found the backpack of money and jewelry. That man, Mr. Good Samaritan, went through quite some effort and was able to find the rightful owner who had accidentally set the bag down. (And she went on to give him $1000 for his helpfulness.)
I'm not sure how I, personally, would've handled that, though. The previous experience with the ring might suggest I'd keep the backpack for myself.
But actually, first and foremost, I don't think I wouldn't have picked it up to begin with. No way, actually (because that bag could've contained a severed head or something terrible and I would've been too scared). But, for the sake of argument, if I had, I'm not sure I would've kept it. ONLY because the conspiracy theorist in me would be worried: 1) it was a trap; or 2) it was linked to criminal or terrorist activity that would then get me too involved and/or accused and arrested. Sadly, I think these two potential scenarios would drive me to turn in the bag more than altruism. Is that awful?