64: If the Key Fits

64: If the Key Fits

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More

If the Key Fits

Life is a series of thousands of tiny miracles. Notice them.

~Author Unknown

My Uncle Pat was a barber and he always had the best stories to tell at our family’s Sunday dinner table. He was never short of anecdotes about the customers who came into his shop each week. Sad stories, happy stories, amazing stories — his customers had them all, and we got to hear them. Yet the story that I remember best is one in which he took center stage.

As we ate our antipasto one Sunday afternoon, my uncle told us that he had stopped at the grocery store to do his weekly shopping on his day off. After buying up his usual items, he pushed his shopping cart toward his 1970 gold Dodge Dart and noticed that an identical Dart had parked in the space next to his. Intrigued, he took a closer look, only to find a young woman alternately wiping tears from her cheeks and frantically yanking on the door of the car.

Now, my uncle had the kindest heart of anyone I ever met, so, I knew before he even told us that he went over to that woman in his quiet, unassuming way to ask her if he could help. The young woman lifted her tear-stained face and pointed toward the driver’s seat. And there my uncle saw the set of keys she had accidentally locked inside.

“I ran out to get milk on my way to pick up my kids from school, and look what I did! I was rushing so much that I locked my keys in the car.” She wiped a few more tears from her face. “How will I get them now?” she sobbed.

Well, my uncle may have been kind, and certainly a talented barber, but handy he was not, and opening a locked car door without a key was something way beyond his abilities. Still, he was determined to be of help. So, he did the only thing he could think of doing. He reached into his pocket and handed the woman his car key. “Here,” he said, “try this.”

The young woman gave him a you’ve-got-to-be-kidding look.

“Try it,” he told her again as he offered her his key. “It might work. I mean, they’re both Dodge Darts, and they’re even the same color.”

With that, the young woman shrugged her shoulders, took the key, slipped it into the lock and opened the door. Her tears of terror quickly turned into tears of joy. “My prayers were answered,” she said, and then thanked my uncle profusely before driving off in time to fetch her children from school.

My entire family sat around the dinner table that day in complete awe of my uncle’s story. Yet no one was more awestruck than my uncle himself. We tossed around the possibilities. My mother and father both agreed that certainly it was plausible, with so many cars manufactured in this world, that a lock-and-key combination could be repeated. But that two cars with the same lock parked next to each other on the same day, well, that was some coincidence. And that a kindly man with the right key showed up at the exact moment a frantic young mother was wondering how she could open her locked door, well, that was plain amazing.

We continued to mull over the situation as dessert was being served.

“Amazing,” my mother muttered.

“Incredible,” my father declared.

Then my uncle gave his assessment. “You know, I think it was a miracle.”

We all nodded our heads. “Yes, a miracle.” And somewhere out there, I’m sure one very relieved young mother agreed.

~Monica A. Andermann

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