At Least He Didn’t Take It For a Joy-Ride

I got the call as I was pulling out of the parking lot. “Eli’s locked himself in the car!”

We’d taken Eli to the pediatric dentist for the first time. I’d met Misty and Eli there, where Eli was busy shrieking with excitement as he ran around the mockup of the Apollo capsule that was in the waiting room. (You do know that Huntsville calls itself “Rocket City,” right? We’ve even got a rocket Jesus.) The whole thing turned out to be very low-stress, as they just counted his teeth and asked us questions about him. This was more of a get-acquainted visit, to let Eli get used to the platonic ideal of the dentist with toys and fun nurses and no scary drills or anything anywhere, pay no attention to that high-pitched whine behind the curtain. “Say ‘aaah,'” the dentist told Eli, and “Aaaah!” he said excitedly before trying to bite the dental pick.

Misty was letting Eli play with the remote control key fob while we talked to a friend we ran into in the parking lot. Misty then put Eli in his seat and I went to my truck to drive back to work.

Only, it didn’t go the way we’d planned. Eli locked the car with the remote control, and when Misty strapped him into his car seat, the keys fell into the seat next to him. She shut the door, went to open the driver’s door…and realized what had happened.

I don’t normally carry keys for the car, and it’s a twenty-five or thirty minute round trip to go back home, get keys, and return. I made a hasty u-turn and found myself right behind a police car. “What about the cops? Think they could open the car?”

“Maybe,” Misty said doubtfully. Imagining how upset Eli was going to get, I decided to risk the short-cut. I followed the police car until it pulled into a brick building. I pulled in behind him, hoping I wouldn’t sound too crazed. Then I looked at the building. It was a police station.

Well, how about that? However, the nice man behind the counter explained that the police didn’t carry slim jims any more. I ran back to my car. Maybe no one would notice me spinning out in my haste. Misty called, and I told her what the policeman had told me. “That’s funny, I just called and they said they were sending someone to help.” Right then a fire truck turned onto the street in front of me, siren going and lights flashing. I followed.

Sure enough, they lept out of the truck and went to work with their own slim jim. I joined the small crowd around our car. “Are you the locksmith?” one of the firemen asked. “He’s the husband!” Misty replied. Eli was laughing and giggling inside. “We’ve made a game out of it,” Misty said, “so he won’t be upset.”

The firemen had that door open in thirty seconds. We pulled Eli out, no worse for his experience. He wasn’t sad until the fire truck drove away.

6 thoughts on “At Least He Didn’t Take It For a Joy-Ride

  1. Fewer and fewer police departments are carrying slim jims anymore. It’s a bit of a liability if, say, they bust your window or break your sophisticated electronic locks. My PD still does unlocks – and very frequently at that. There is undoubtedly the one vehicle that refuses to come open, though. The last one I dispatched that wouldn’t come open, though, was a semi trailer. Three locksmiths later, the sucker opened up.

    I’m glad it had a happy ending, and that you guys made a positive experience out of it for Eli. Maybe someday he’ll vaguely recall it, or you can tell him the story when his prom date comes to visit.

  2. Sounds like the time Daddy and I took you in his car to Howard’s and you insisted on holding the car keys. After about our fourth different stop in the store, I noticed that you were holding something other than the keys. Fortunately we managed to backtrack item by item, finding what you had exchanged at each stop until we found the keys amongst the fishing corks (bobbers). Also fortunately, we had you with us and only the vehicle was at risk.

  3. Ah. You mean eggbeater Jesus. 🙂

    As for the locked door thing, I have my own funny story there, and it ties in with something previous commenter jess said.

    I was about to leave Tull (Arkansas… visit to Amy and her family for those who don’t know) and head back to Tuscaloosa. Unfortunately, I had locked myself out of my ’92 Sentra. With the engine running.

    Since Amy’s Dad was a memeber of the local volunteer fire department, they just drove down the road to pick up their slim jim. After quite a few minutes of trying, they just weren’t able to do anything with it.

    Luckily, I had roadside assistance on my cell phone plan, so we called them, and a locksmith came out and used something very different than a slim jim to get my passenger door open in about 5 seconds. By that point it was so late that I just turned off the car and decided to stay there for one more night.

    The next morning, on trying to get into the car, I found out that the driver door (the one Olen and friends had worked on with the slim jim) wouldn’t open from the outside. To make a long story shorter, when I got it fixed, I was told that the mechanism inside the door was specifically designed to fall apart if prodded too much, thus foiling a would-be thief. Nothing was broken, but the entire mechanism was lying inside the bottom of the door. 🙂

    I’ve heard another story somewhere about a Porsche owner who called a locksmith after locking himself out. The locksmith said that there was nothing he could do to unlock the door. He recommended breaking a particular piece of window glass to get in, because it was the least expensive to replace. 🙂 Said it was the only way.

  4. “Y’all suck as parents! You let your kid play with the remote keyless entry!”

    Oh, sorry. Thought I was on dooce.com for a sec.

    And I’m with Jeff … it’s Jesus on the Eggbeater. [Insert Baptist joke here.]

  5. Granted, I’ve called it Eggbeater Jesus in the past, but dude, look at those spiral galaxies! He’s riding a rocket…a rocket of PURE LOVE.

  6. This actually reminds me of when Sean was driving his Focus out to Arizona when we moved. He calls me up on his second day out. It was hot that day, somewhere at a rest stop in Oklahoma or Arkansas or one of those other midwestern states on his way to Arizona and he had to use the restroom. The problem was that he had Weaver in the car and it was hot enough that he didn’t want to turn the AC off while he went to the restroom. So, Sean leaves the key in the ignition, removes the key fob and locks the door, leaving Weaver a happy kitty. Several minutes later, he comes back outside to find out that he can’t unlock the Focus with the key fob while the engine’s running. $#!)
    He called me up that afternoon while he’s waiting on the AAA locksmith to show up. The locksmith eventually got the car open, with a coat hanger, not a slim jim, but not without a lot of meowing on Weaver’s part… or at least the silen meow that Weaver passes off as a real meow.
    Moving out to Arizona will be a memorable experience for both of us for many, many reasons…

    Besides that, I’m glad that you guys turned it into a good experience for Eli. You guys are such great parents and handle situations like this really well. I can only hope that I’m half this decent of a parent one day.

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