Monday, May 16, 2011

Locked Keys:

In 1994 I had a consulting job that required me to commute east, all across New Jersey, an hour each way every day. After an accident that totaled my then current car (a woman returning from her chemo appointment made an injudicious left turn), we got a brand new Honda Accord for me to commute in. The car was a few weeks old and I was coming home on a Friday afternoon. On Fridays, I always left early enough to get home well before the start of the Sabbath, at which time I could no longer drive. I was always hyper about making sure I got home early on Fridays.

I stopped halfway, at my favorite gas station, an indie place that sold off-brand gas at low prices. I pulled up at the pump, got out of the car and closed the door, locking my keys inside. The motor was still running.

That’s a nightmare scenario, except for one thing. The gas station employees were not the least bit worried. One of them reached up and felt along the low roof of the gas station office. He pulled out a long tool designed for one thing: to unlock card doors. He shoved it down between the driver’s seat window and the outside of the door, fished round a bit and .... he dropped it. The tool disappeared inside my car door. The motor was still running.

I stood there with my heart in my mouth while the gas station owner made a few phone calls. Soon he announced there was nothing to worry about. Fifteen minutes later, a guy drove up, looking very much like the same sort of foreigner as the gas station employees. He unlocked my car with a similar tool, got the other tool out of my door, teased us all, and drove off. I got home about thirty minutes later than expected, feeling very lucky.

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