Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The luck of the GO was a no-GO for me

Dang, my entry wasn't selected.

For the past month, in advance of St. Patrick's Day, GO Transit ran a contest asking commuters to submit stories of "Good luck on the GO" for a chance to win a Presto Card pre-loaded with 10 GO rides (Congratulations! You get to travel to Exhibition and back! Oh, you live is Stouffville? Sucks to be you!).

I'm bummed my story wasn't one of the three finalists.

Here's what I wrote:

It started with a key, a really late night and a shuttered GO station. I was at the station because I had been dropped off to retrieve my own vehicle after a six-times delayed flight home from a convention and no train would be getting me anywhere considering the hour I had left downtown Toronto.

Someone had lost a set of car keys. They were lying on the ground when I came across them. I won't tell you which GO station on the advice of my lawyer because apparently if you write stuff down it becomes something called evidence which is a load of bull because I write down stuff all the time for my husband to do and none of it gets done and the police aren't helpful at all. Why can't I have him arrested for not cleaning the cat shitter when it says, "clean cat shitter" on that little notepad our local real estate agent likes to leave in our mailbox as "swag"? I'm still stuck with a cat shitter full of shit and no one cares! Not even the fire department. Besides, I didn't do anything wrong that night but Howard Bigfird is an expensive lawyer and I do what he says.

I picked up the keys and inspected them. There were two key fobs on the ring, each one for a different make of vehicle. Key fobs are those clicker things that you point at a car to remotely open its doors.

There was no one to turn the keys into since the station was closed, so I began wondering around the parking lot pressing the door open buttons on both key fobs. Feeling like a gunslinger, I spread my legs apart and fired off each knob one at a time. After about 30 minutes, I heard the click and saw the flicker of headlights from a nearby car. A clunker, really. Don't know the year but it was rusting around the logo and along the fenders. Not only did I find car keys, but I also found the car they belong to! Tell me that's not lucky!? Not for me. For the owner.

I opened the car door and looked inside. What a mess. Packaged food containers were everywhere. Clothes were strewn across the back seat. Wait, before you judge me, I did NOT take the car for a joyride nor did I even think about such a thing. I did, however, take a look in the trunk. I don't know what possessed me to look in the trunk, but I did anyway.

Holy mother of God!

It was empty.

Not sure now what to do with the keys, I decided to put them on the floor of the car and lock the doors. This way, the person gets them back. I didn't particularly care if they had to call a tow truck guy to jimmy the doors. Most likely, there's a spare key and all that's needed is a phone call to a spouse or parent. Right?

I pressed down the door lock and shut the door.

As I was walking over to my SUV, this dark figure appears out of nowhere and comes running towards me. "Hey!" The person yells - a man. "You didn't happen to find a set of car keys did you!?"

Call me paranoid but the first thing I'm thinking because I watch way too much Dateline and read way too many crime/suspense novels is that I'm somehow being set up for a scam.

I yield my rolling suitcase in front of me preparing to use it as a battering ram - Chuck Norris style. I figure I could snap off the handle and use it as a weapon if it came down to that.

Out of breath, this guy, age hard to tell, comes to a dead stop in front of me, panting. He's now leaned over in an attempt to catch his breath.

"Sorry," he says, breathing heavy. "I saw you walk from my car."

Jesus Christ, I thought. Superman? Is that you? I was pretty far away from where this guy could have been standing before he broke into a sprint.

I wasn't sure what to say. I was still working the handle of my rolling suitcase wondering about the best way to force it to break. Don't believe what you see in the movies! That handle wasn't budging. Worst case scenario, I swing the suitcase and knock him out cold.

I had a lot of questions for the guy such as, why are you here at this hour? How did you see me from wherever you were? Why is your car so messy?

I told him I did find the keys and that I locked them in the car.

Suddenly, he goes all Jack Nicholson in the Shining on me. I get ready to start swinging.

"Why didn't you just leave them on the seat with the door open?!" He yells. He's stomping his feet, cursing and flinging his arms around.

I'm standing there, amazed at what I'm seeing.

All this over keys!

Screw this, I thought. I don't owe this guy anything. I back away and move sideways towards my SUV. The guy is too busy ranting and raving to notice I've beelined it to my car. Thankfully, I didn't have to put my key in the ignition and start crying and muttering "C'mon, c'mon, c'mon", urging the car to start. That's the problem with horror films, the cars are always old and unreliable. I threw my SUV into gear and accelerated out of the lot.

'Jack' gave chase for a bit and actually whipped his boot in my direction as I drove away.

Unbelievable, right? I find the guy's keys, which was lucky for him, and this is the thanks I get!? I really hope he submits an entry to this contest, too, because I'd really like to hear his side of the story.


Krystyna Lagowski said...

That's crazy! If you ever found my keys, I'll be super grateful. And I especially like your intro with the reference to the cat pooper. Anyone who includes their cat pooper in a story is my kinda people.

Bicky said...

You was robbed! ROBBED!

denny said...

I will admit, I'd be pissed if this happened to me and I found out my keys had been purposedly locked in the car. You could have left the doors unlocked. I doubt people randomly go around GO stations looking for unlocked cars and keys on the floor.

Dan-1 said...

That guy needs a good wack with a rolling suitcase. Sure, leaving the keys on the seat of the unlocked car they belong to is the brightest thing to do. "Here anyone that happens to be walking by, take me for a joyride. Don't bother to smash the window, you'll find the door is unlocked".

Next time you should say screw it, and just return the keys to Union the next day. Too many wackos and yakkos in the world to be going out of your way for them.

Anonymous said...

That was a dumb move CJ. What gives you the right to even enter this persons car let alone lock the keys inside the car. Did it ever occur to you that maybe that was his spare key or better yet he didn't have one? Are you going to pay for his tow truck to come and open the doors now? Congratulations - you aren't really all that bright are you?

Squiggles said...

Well, as someone who has no clue where her spare is, and no one at home to grab it, I would be just as torqued as that guy. But I would never have done the histronics that guy did. Not Worth It.

And I agree with Bicky, you was robbed.

Tim K. said...

Ah, anonymous
Let's presume this story is indeed true despite the ending giving it away that it's fiction.

I dropped my keys once in a parking lot at Ontario Place. Ontario Place was long closed when we made it back to the car, my sister and I. I noticed I didn't have my keys as I approached the car.

I didn't think at the time I locked them in the car. We didn't know what to do. The car was definitely locked.

But here's the thing. I keep a spare key in my wallet. Always have. I don't need the transmitter. Just the key.

Having had this happen to me, I can tell you that no one owes anyone anything in a situation like this. I would have been happy to see my keys in the car as the dealer charged me $179 plus HST for a new set, complete with transmitter. My keys have a chip on them which bloated the replacement cost.

I would not have been happy to come back to my car and see the car unlocked with the keys on the seat.

Having read the story again, if it's true, it doesn't sound like the man gave CJ any opportunity to help him get his keys back such as offering to pay for a tow truck call or giving him a lift home to get his second set.

It's sad we live in the society we do. It really is.

Oh, and despite calling Ontario Place for a few weeks straight after this incident, I never got my keys back and had to pay for the replacement.

Tim K. said...


Wouldn't you at least be happy to know that your ONLY SET was in THE CAR instead of not never to be found again?
You don't always get everything back.
Not everyone will pick up a set of keys and think to at least try to return them to the owner.

There's no dates, time, or places given in the story which is how I believe it's purely hypothetical. Come on, CJ usually throws more meat in her stories than this.

What if she lived a good 2 hours away from the station? I wouldn't drive back the next day to turn them in. What if someone else found the keys and stole the car or tossed them in the trash or no one turned them in at all?

Then what?

FRED said...

You mean, this story was written purely for amusement?

No way. Say it isn't so!

C.J. Smith said...

I'm not telling!

I'm still interested in what others would have done. Tim raised some good points.

Squiggles said...


Yes, I would have been happy. But then again, I am absolutely paranoid about my keys, that I triple check that I have them on me and safely tucked into the Black Hole that is my purse, before leaving the car.

Also, at one point, I did keep a spare in my wallet too. That is until the car got so old (aka the locks worn) that only 2 keys actually work in the door.

Hypothetical or not, still gonna say CJ was robbed.

C.J. Smith said...

I was totally robbed.

ExGOnowTTC said...

I would've responded with interpretive dance.

FRED said...

I think Tim and Anonymous are reading way too much into this story.

You're ruining the tone.

Anonymous said...

I would have been thrilled my keys were in my car and my car wasn't stolen or robbed of anything. CAA is just a phone call away if you don't have a second set.

Don't think I would have looked in the trunk or snooped though. You could have found a body...

Kelly said...

I personally agree that the doors should have been left unlocked. I would rather the slim risk of someone spotting actually looking through the window and seeing the keys, and being someone who would take the car, than having to pay for a tow or try to get the spare keys.

Anny said...

Listen to the entitlement of some of you people!

A person who finds your keys isn't obligated to do anything specific.

It's up to them now what to do. They don't know you or your situation and can't be expected to start running through a list of best case scenarios.

I can't believe what I'm reading.

The person who finds your keys doesn't owe you diddly squat. What they choose to do with your keys is their decision.

How about you just learn to take care of your stuff?

Kathy said...

@Anny I could not agree more.

lswgirl13 said...

Hey, I gotta say the 3 stories they selected are crap. I'm guessing they didn't get many entries.

C.J. Smith said...


C'mon ... my story was epic.

lswgirl13 said...

I enjoyed it.

N-train said...

I don't think it's exactly Luck-on-the-GO material by their standards, though. XD

Anonymous said...

Stories had to be less than 150 words. But this was epic. haha

C.J. Smith said...

150 words!?

ExGOnowTTC said...

GO Transit are haters. Your story didn't win because it didn't have Go Transit employees riding to your rescue from behind double rainbows on unicorns.