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'Heartbroken' man is giving away engagement ring in touching contest

Steven Crocker is turning a broken engagement into something positive, by offering a free engagement ring to a couple "so in love" who can't afford it.
/ Source: TODAY

Steven Crocker of Virginia Beach, Virginia, was in love and ready to propose. But a month before he planned to drop down on one knee to pop the question, the 23-year-old found himself single — leaving him with a brand-new $1,700 engagement ring.

"I was very sad," the news station robotic camera operator told TODAY Style. "My mom knew that, so when I was at work, she took the ring and put it somewhere I wouldn't be able to look at it."

Crocker's 1 1/2-year relationship with his 21-year-old ex ended in November. Months went by, and Crocker felt he was finally ready to see the 14-karat white gold ring again.

There are more than a few ways to unload new and old engagement rings, which Crocker explored. After listening to some sad music and sleeping on it, he decided to try selling the ring, locally. "I went to some stores, and they weren't offering me very much money," he said. "It was not about the money for me. It was about the love and that no amount of money would fill the emptiness."

Steven Crocker is giving away his unused engagement ring to a deserving couple
Since offering up the free engagement ring, Steven Crocker has become increasingly popular among the ladies.

This week, he took the matter to Facebook, offering a free engagement ring. Crocker is looking to give "a guy or girl who is so in love with their significant other and wants to take the next step but cannot afford a ring," according to the post.

Since sharing his heartfelt message on March 5 at 1:30 a.m., Crocker has received a plethora of emails and messages.

"As of this morning, I have 960 unread emails. I've read probably 150. I've got over 100 Facebook messages I've been trying to sift through," he said on Friday afternoon. "I'm not going to pick anybody until I read all of them. I should have probably picked a deadline in hindsight."

Crocker hopes to find a standout individual. His criteria are simple, and he'll likely consult his parents on the final choice. "I'm looking for someone who ... I can tell their significant other means the world to them ... they know that the ring means a lot to me, and it would also mean a lot to them."

People from Argentina, New Zealand, Canada, Scotland and all across the United States have contacted him.

Among those many emails and messages, the self-proclaimed shy guy is also getting attention from ladies hoping to date him — but this wasn't his intention at all. He's been hit on by an estimated 25-50 women.

Crocker has spoken to his ex since they ended things and is open to getting back together with her, but, "I'm not holding my breath," he said.

Whether or not the two get back together, Crocker insists: He's not giving up on love.