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A fool proof method to NEVER lock your keys in the car again.

The spare key

I locked my keys  in the car today.


I met a helicopter pilot at the Atusgi Naval Base, in Atsugi Japan on January 26th, 1990. He told me he was always prepared for an emergency. If a rotor failed while he was flying he knew exactly what to do. He had his routine down. He was  prepared.

He said, “You have to follow the steps in order and never deviate from the plan.”

Step 1. Do it
Step 2. Do it.
Step 3. Do it.
Step 4. Do it.
Step 5. Do it.

Always and forever. Follow the steps.

The same logic for flying helicopters applies to never locking your keys in the car.

Have a plan and stick to it.

(And if that plan fails have an emergency back up plan.)

You don’t want to crash your helicopter and you don’t want to sit at the Philadelphia Premium Outlets for an hour waiting for the tow truck to come. You also don’t want to sit in the parking lot at Wal-Mart for an hour waiting for the tow truck to come;  And you  don’t want to sit in the parking lot at Tae Kwon Do waiting for the tow-truck. And you probably would rather not sit at Costco in the parking lot either, watching your ice cream melt.

Locking your keys in the car wastes hours of your life.  Hours that could be spent doing something useful like washing the dishes or cleaning seven litter boxes.

That is why I have a plan. I don’t want to waste hours of my life.

I am always prepared for an emergency. The emergency of locking my keys in the car. It is the secret trick. The Absolutely Foolproof Back up Plan when I don’t follow the Fail Proof Method.

If you know you are forgetful it is best to have a plan in place.

Have you ever locked you keys in the car? If you did it once you may do it again.

I have a method to NEVER lock your keys in the car again. ( The trick is to follow it.)

The Fool Proof Method to NEVER lock your keys in the car again.

1. Always lock your car with the key fob, with the keys in your hand, standing outside of the vehicle.

2. If you take your keys out of the ignition, always put them in your pocket. Do you put them in your purse. You may leave your purse in the vehicle.

3. DO NOT take the keys out of the ignition and place them beside you in the vehicle. You may think, “Oh, yes, I will pick these up in a minute.”  But alas, you probably won’t. Your keys will cry as you lock the car and walk away.”

“Forgotten again. Cry, Cry.”

4. Never. I repeat. Never. Never lock your car door with the button on the car door.

5. These steps are completely useless if you don’t follow them.

Are you still forgetting things?” “I don’t know, I can’t remember,” I said.”
― Stephen King, Duma Key

This morning I almost crashed the helicopter. 

This morning I locked my keys in the car. Again. ( The Fool Proof Method only works if  you follow it.)

I arrived early for an appointment and took the keys out of the ignition and set them down beside me. Then I took  unbraided my hair and brushed it. After I brushed my hair I braided it. Then I grabbed my purse and locked the car with the button on the door.

“Gasp,” you say.

Yes, I violated my own rules. Very careless of me.

When my appointment ended I walked from the office to my car. As I walked to the car I  put my hand in my purse to get my keys. My keys were not in my purse. Were they under my wallet? No they weren’t.   Then I patted down my pants pockets. Then I looked in the pocket of my coat. Then I stood beside the van and looked in the driver’s side window.  And there between the two front seats I saw the Red Canada lanyard with my keys on it.

Time for the Fail Proof Emergency Back up plan.

1. The spare key.


It was in the zippered pocket inside my purse.

The helicopter pilot told me something about his emergency back up plan that I forgot to do. 

He practiced.
And practiced.
And practiced.
And practiced.
And practiced.

He probably had to practice more than five times.

Tomorrow I will practice getting in and out of my car. At least five times. I don’t want to crash my helicopter or sit in anymore parking lots. I have dishes to wash and litter boxes to clean.

It is wise to always be prepared.

Do you carry an extra key?

Please tell me in the comments I would love to chat.


About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

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  • forgetful

    I locked my car keys three times this month.twice today.yes two times in one day.i don’t know what to do anymore

  • Tammy Schaefer

    Yes Pamela, I too have locked my keys in my car more times than I like to admit. It’s a running joke with my husband and I. No, I don’t have a spare, but practice has helped me get better. Thanks for sharing and letting me know I’m not the only one!

    • Tammy, you and I are not the only one. If we were, then Triple A would go out of business.
      Thank you for telling me you forget to. Lets see how we do today.

  • Christa Sterken

    Last night I made it into the house before we left, and Art says “Where is the keys?” I checked my purse, my pocket, no luck. He says, “You got in the house…” Hours later I found them. Under my purse 🙂 Spares are a beautiful thing

    • Oh how funny Christa. They were hiding. Yes, spares are a beautiful thing.
      Do you know where they are right now?

  • Janelle

    So glad you had the spare! I often have to search the house for the keys before we leave, because I forget to put them in their “spot” when I get home.

    • Ah yes, the spot. Some mornings I run at least a mile as I run around the house looking for my keys.
      Quick, right not. Can you find your keys?

  • Well the last time the key got locked in the vehicle we decided to get spare keys made. So we each have one. Helpful post Pamela. One that many will sadly relate to.

    • Anne,
      What a good idea to make spares. Except these ones are over one hundred dollars each. I just have to remember.

  • Nope, but I do have AAA. And I’m really good with a shim. But still, you have a great backup plan, and I think I will adapt it.

    • Christa Sterken

      Gotta love AAA

  • La McCoy

    Good plan

  • Paul (birdsandtreesofthemind)

    This summer I managed to lock myself in a stairwell in my condo building (a long and silly story), so this is sage advice for me. Go slow, go slow, think through all the steps — bad things happen in a rush, and even more so for me because I’m generally very slow and deliberate, so when I rush I’m out of my element.

  • Carol Wilcox

    OK, I am sooooo going to try this. I am not even going to tell you how many times I have lost my keys. Do you have any hints for not losing your cell phone!

    • Oh Carol, I want to know how many times you have lost your keys. And I do have a hint about your cell phone.
      Have a plan. And don’t deviate from it.
      Find a home for your cell phone and your cell phone can only live there. Don’t set it down in the bathroom. Or on top of the washing machine.
      Maybe I need to sew baby carriers for cell phones like women carry their babies?