Stories With the KeyMaker
--by Seeker, posted May 14, 2007
A friend of mine loses her purse and all the keys in it. She didn't have any copies of her key, so her white, 4-door car is idly stranded outside my house. I called up a locksmith, to create another key (apparently they can do it in ten minutes -- so much for the illusion of security). In thirty minutes of my phone call, a young man in his thirties rolls through with "Grant" written on the left side of his shirt and "AA Locks" on the right side.
He asked me for proof of registration for the car and I told him it wasn't my car. After some hesitation he called his boss on the cell, to check if that's ok; eventually he said yes, figuring that I wasn't really the type of guy who would car-jack a 1992 Toyota Corolla. :) There's a slight drizzle outside, so I ask him how long it'll take. "A couple minutes. Shouldn't be too long. I'm doing this the old fashioned way," he said with a smile.
I go back into the house, hoping to catch up with some emails. Ten minutes later, I see him still working diligently on the sidewalk outside our house. Another ten minutes pass. And another. Almost an hour later, I find him in his van, full of keys and tools lined up on its walls, trying to carve out the detailed cuts on the key. "This is turning out to be a bit complicated, but that's what I like about my job -- always a challenge," he says. I smile and start up a conversation, to hint that it's ok that it's taking long. He tells me about his work: "Yeah, it's a big company, for a locksmith. Fifteen of us guys. But you know the best part is that you never get bored. Like this morning, I broke the doors of an office complex and now I'm doing a car. I'm lucky to have this job."
Then, he turns around and asks me what I do. I try to explain what I do in one sentence: "I run an organization that ... basically tries to bring smiles in the world." "Ah, you mean like helping churches?" he responds innocently. Before I could respond, he jumps in and says: "Oh yeah, I help out my church every Sunday too. I setup the speakers for them. Yup, every Sunday. It's hard, though, you know." Grant, if that was the right name on his shirt, looks down and starts filing the key. "It's hard but on some ledger somewhere, it all evens out. What goes around, comes around, don't you think?" I ask him. Confidently, he asserts: "Oh, no doubt about that. For sure."
Another full hour later, he finishes and brings me the invoice. The light rain smudged much of the receipt, but I could see enough to know that he charged me a little less. I signed the payment stub and he hands me the new keys: "I made you an extra key. No charge." It was his simple way to say thank you. I don't know why he'd want to thank me but somehow, I really wanted to thank him too. Grant towered over me at 6 foot 5 inches and his well built frame could be intimidating; still, you could tell that the man in front of me would never cheat or harm anyone.
As I was putting my credit card back in my wallet, I noticed I had eight bucks cash. I took it all out and asked, "Grant, can you do me a favor?" This was the first time I said his name, so he tuned in as if I was about to say something important. "I've got these eight bucks. Can you do something good with it?" I placed the money in his hands, with a five dollar bill showing on top. Caught off gaurd, he didn't know what to say. "What? Are you sure?" I nodded. His eyes teared up and hands slightly shaking. I tried to change the mood: "It's only eight bucks but that's all I got in my wallet. But make someone's day. Make someone smile." He stared down at the floor, "Yeah. Gosh, I don't even know what to say."
We both looked at each other and naturally did a semi-bow to the goodness that connected our paths. Grant shut the door of his van and drove off; I shut the door of my house and went to work upstairs. Grant probably never knew any complicated philosophies but led a humble and happy life of a locksmith, that he was grateful for. Just that was enough to make my day.