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May 12, 2008

Stranded in Heber: The Saga of the Lost Keys

I decided I had to share this story, after reading one of my niece's funny blog, of how she ended up being the keeper of lost keys and a coat!

Last month, I had a meeting at one of my schools in Heber. When the meeting ended at 12:45 p.m, I proceeded to leave as I wanted to grab some lunch before my next student. As I walked out to the car, I felt in the front compartment of my purse for my keys. There was nothing there! It was empty. I'm having way too many of these senior moments and losing keys recently, as I'd locked my keys in my car TWICE (before this) in the last few months.

The first time, I was saved by my sister Kenna coming out to the post office, where I was working my second job, bringing me my spare keys. Unfortunately, within the first week or so of moving in with Jaimee, I lost my spare keys. AAA had to be called to come to my rescue the second time I got locked out of my car. I had to wait a day before I could get enough help to get the phone call done, as the AAA phone number menu is too hard for me to navigate through, and somehow when calling with relay, I always end with a wrong menu selection and talking to Canada's version of AAA. Despite the day wait, at least I was stranded at home!

So here I was with my third, and most traumatic experience in recent months. I was stranded an hour from home, in a distant little town, in another galaxy far, far away. Yes, I'm exaggerating a little, but it sure felt like it. Thankfully my work has invested in a cell phone that works VERY well with my cochlear implants, and I'm able to do some phone calling. I'm not super good at it, but improving, and in desperate need of more practice (anyone want to call me and help me practice my listening skills! :D). I'm getting off the point here. I was able to hear well enough to call Jaimee for help, but not well enough to tackle difficult and unknowns callers. I certainly wasn't in the mood to talk to Canada's AAA. Jaimee did me a huge favor and called AAA for me.

I waited outside the school building, where it was a very cold mountain day. Not realizing I'd be stuck outside trybing to be visible for AAA later in the day, I thought it was warm enough to leave my sweater in the car. So I'm pacing back and forth to stave of potential frostbite, hungrily eyeing my lunch inside the car. Moving past the cold and hunger, I could see my teaching materials for a student I needed to to work with at 1:00 in the same building that I was stranded in. It all mocked me as I paced back and forth, thinking of that poor student inside the school building who wasn't getting my help that day! After what seemed like an eternity, but really wasn't, AAA showed up. My relief at getting in my car was short lived, as guess what, there were NO KEYS inside my car!

I started a search of the school grounds from my car to the building, went into the office to find out if anyone had just happened to see any keys. I went also to the classroom where I'd had our meeting. The preschool class from that morning had disbanded just before our meeting. Now the afternoon preschool was in full swing. All aides (I swear there are about 5 of them), teacher, 20 or so students all paused and to see what I was distracting their afternoon fun with. Aides and teachers took a quick check of the room. "No keys," I was informed. I emptied out my car and packed it again. Being that my car is, my office and full of teaching materials, toys, and etc; that was no easy matter. Still no keys.

AAA told me that before they left, and I'd begun my search, that if I couldn't find my keys, they'd have to put my car on a flat bed truck, due to my wheels being locked. This would cost around 50 something dollars. Then they'd have to take it to the nearest Suzuki dealership, as I'd need to get a key made from my VIN number. Only the Suzuki dealearship could do that. The nearest Suzuki dealer was in Salt Lake City. It would cost me $4.00 a mile on top of loading my car on the flatbed truck. Being the day before payday, I had NO money for this. I felt truly stranded. I could afford to walk to a motel and have enough money for one night's stay, then the next day get towed after I got paid.

I called Jaimee yet again, to see if she could talk to the dealership and find some alternatives other than what AAA thought I had to do. Well, the good news was that they didn't need my car there to make a key from the VIN. The bad news was that "I" had to be there, with my ID and my registration to show proof of ownership. How was I going to get there! I managed a lot of private eye rolls, as I thought about my predicament, but didn't panic, didn't give in to a single tear. I told myself that I would somehow make it through this, despite feeling that I might as well have been on Mars, given how far away "home" felt!

Jaimee did more calling and came to my rescue. She connected with my oldest sister Sue, who is retired and was willing to take the hour trip to come get me. She couldn't bring me back that night though to collect myy car. I needed to get back to get my car after I got my key made!! I did some thinking and realized that Joshua, one of my former students, just might be willing/able to help. He was! Here's what happened: My sister arrived at the school to pick me up by 4:00. We made it to the dealership, at 5:00.

As I walked into the parts department, what did I get? I got an email on my PDA from the pre-school teacher telling me they had found my keys! The worst part of their story, I later learned; they found the keys as they were leaving the school at 4:00. I was probably still sitting in my car in front of the school when they found them! Best I can tell, it sounds like an aide picked them up earlier in the dayand thought they were her own keys. Apparently she put them away! When she left school at the end of the day, she got "her" keys from wherever they were, realized it wasn't hers!

Despite my keys being found, I was now far, far away in another direction, though closer to home. I had to pay $85 to get some keys made from the VIN. Joshua came to the dealership to pick me up, then drove me back up the mountain to Heber. By the time I arrived in back to my car, it was 6:15. Of course school was out, and the building with my key inside was locked up tight. I owed Joshua big time for making the trip, so I treated him to dinner in Park City on the way home. By the time I was able to walk into my home, it was 9:00. p.m. I felt like one of those people I remember seeing on TV a long time ago, who kissed the ground after they got off the airplane, in a show of how grateful they were to be either back home, or on the ground...I don't remember which. I could have kissed the ground, to finally be in the safe haven of my home. Yes I am probably being melodramatic here, but ohhhhh, home sweet home!

You better believe I went on a keymaking spree after that! I made so many copies of my keys, distributed them far and wide, including a magnet under my car! I NEVER want to be stranded like that again!!! New motto, "You can NEVER have too many sets of spare keys, or tell this story too many times! If just one person out there takes a lesson from this and makes a zillion copies of their keys, I benefited mankind! :)


cami said...

What a great story!!!!!!!!!!! I love it. I'm glad I was the finder of the keys instead of the loser of the keys.

Ang said...

What a You are a very good story teller. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time:D