Monday, November 17, 2008

A One-minute Service that Saved My Day

Last week, after my camera malfunctioned and ruined the blog I was set to write, I tried to jump-start another by asking myself, “What is a service that was rendered to you that you really, really appreciated?”

I didn’t have an answer until after I had posted my blog for the day, and then the memories came flooding in.

I’m going to share one with you today. It’s about a casual, one-minute service that saved the day for me and increased my testimony of temple work.

Here’s what happened:

Years ago, during the time I had a bakery, I did lots of my shopping at Costco. However, we didn’t have a Costco near us, so once a month, I’d drive our full-size Mercury station wagon eighty miles south to the Costco in Lynwood and load it up with supplies.

I was also Young Women’s President at the time, and since we had a temple trip scheduled, I decided to be efficient and make that trip count for both purposes. I made arrangements with my counselors to meet them at the temple, and I left early enough to allow me time to shop and then negotiate the rush-hour traffic to the temple.

As I pulled in to a parking space at Costco, I noticed that my tape deck was eating my new Lyle Lovett tape. I turned off the key, pulled out the tape, and spent five minutes repairing the damage as best I could. Then, frowning still, I grabbed my purse, clicked the electric locks, got out of the car, and swung the door closed. Just as the door latched, my mind processed the high-pitched ‘ping-ping-ping’ I’d been hearing. It was a reminder that I had left the keys in the ignition.

When I asked at the Costco service desk if someone had a coat hanger and knew how to use one, they told me to call 911, that the local police had a dedicated man for this type of situation. Looking at my watch and trying to ignore the knot in my stomach, I decided to get my supplies and then call 911.

So, I did, and within 20 minutes I was at the pay phone, sending out my SOS. Dispatch told me it would be a while. I should wait out front.

I sat on the curb and tried to prepare for entering the temple. Though I couldn’t help glancing at my watch frequently, I used my time to compose a poem about how blessed I was. Hardest poem I’ve ever attempted, not because I didn’t feel blessed, but because it seemed every rhyme I came up with was something about locked doors and time constraints.

It took an hour for the policeman to arrive. He was young and sweet and eager, but all thumbs when it came to using a Slim Jim. He worked for fifteen minutes—I know, because I was looking at my watch and calculating how long it was going to take me to get to the temple—before he finally gave up. He said electric locks were hard anyway, but these were impossible. My only recourse was to call someone at home and have them bring down the extra set of keys.

I couldn't believe I was going to miss out on this temple experience and let my young women and counselors down. I was perilously close to tears, and perhaps that was what caused a fellow walking by to approach. “Some Ford keys are interchangeable,” he said. “Why don’t you let me try my key?”

The policeman stood aside, the stranger put his key in the lock and turned it, and the doors unlocked.

I stood there with my mouth open for only a second before I flew into action. The men helped me load my goods, accepted my profuse thanks, and watched me bottom out as I pulled out of the parking lot onto the street.

After that, it was smooth sailing. I’ve never seen traffic that flowed so well at that time of day. I made it in good time, and as I sat in the temple watching those lovely young women, my stewardship, I examined the odds that that key would work and gave thanks for a stranger who heeded a prompting and made all the difference for me.

Return to the Neighborhood

1 comment:

Monique said...

That's really great what a blessing. I have locked my keys in my car a lot. A lot! i hate to admit that but it's been more then five times. I have had damage done be locksmiths trying to jimmy it open I've had a boss almost fire me because I was running a crutial errang for him when it happened. And I've been stranded at a gas station in the middle of Montana while on my way back to New Mexico. And unfortunalty many many other incidents. it was always expensive scary, and inconvienient. Trust me you were truly blessed.