When Rusty Jones heard that a diamond engagement and wedding ring set was for sale on Craigslist, and all the seller was asking for was tickets to a football game, he thought it was too good to be true.
"I was a little skeptical that it was real..." he told TODAY.com. "There's a lot of Craigslist scammers and things like that."
But, after reading about the offer in the Kansas City Star, he was too curious to pass up the opportunity.
"I thought it was a beautiful ring, and I showed it to my girlfriend, and she really liked it also, so I responded to the ad," he said.
Others responded as well — and the advertisement quickly went viral, as people assumed the woman was selling the wedding ring she wore every day in exchange for tickets to the Dec. 1 Chiefs-Broncos game at Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium.
In fact, Jones says, the woman was selling her rings from a previous marriage, and was looking to buy the tickets as a gift for her husband's birthday. "She really seemed like her husband was going to be ecstatic," he said, adding, "I wouldn't have done any kind of deal if it was her current wedding ring. Football tickets are one thing, but wedding rings are sacred."
Jones met the woman at a local jeweler to have the ring appraised, and on Thursday, Jones swapped six tickets, which he bought at face value for $80 each, for the rings. He says the seller, who has chosen to remain anonymous due to the backlash over her ad, "seemed very happy."
And though the story has gained national attention, he still hopes to surprise his girlfriend with a marriage proposal.
While she was aware he had initially reached out for the rings, she believes the deal fell through, so he just has to act before the buzz surrounding his purchase spoils the surprise — though he knows that might be a challenge.
"It's on the front page of our local newspaper," he laughed. "I'm guessing she'll find out."
Even if it's not a complete surprise, he thinks she'll be thrilled. "My girlfriend's going to be in heaven when she sees the ring," he said. "It's amazing."