No joking matter

By Staff
Melissa Cason
About a month ago I received a joke text message.
The message was asking for help because someone had locked their keys in the car with the windows down. I thought it was cute, and forwarded the message to my friends and went on about my day.
It was only a few minutes later that I started getting texts and calls asking where I was so that help could be sent. While the overwhelming response made me feel loved, it was only a joke and the text said my windows were down.
I sent out another text to let everyone know that I was okay and that it was a joke.
A friend of mine told me I was going to be paid back for making everyone worry about me.
My payback came last week when I really locked my keys in my car while on assignment at Tharptown School.
I was in a big hurry because I had lots to do, and I quickly gathered up my things from my front seat and went inside to do my story.
When I returned to my car, I quickly realized that my keys were not in my pocket. I looked in my car and did not see them but I knew in my heart that they must be there somewhere under all of my stuff.
My pink cell phone sitting in my cup holder caught my eye, as it almost seemed to be mocking me.
I quickly went to the office, and the nicest school secretary-or at least the nicest for that day-Cheryl-let me use the phone to call for help.
I called the sheriff's department to get an officer out there. After waiting for over an hour, my friend Capt. Mark Swindle showed up and tried to get my car to open.
After working about 15 minutes to get my door opened, he informed me that he could not get it opened and told me to call a locksmith.
He gave me some numbers, and left. About this time, I started to panic.
I called four locksmiths and no one could come out until later that afternoon, and it wasn't even lunchtime at that point. I began to cry when the last number I called turned into a dead end.
I was stuck at Tharptown with nothing but my camera and notepad. Everything else was in my car.
A teacher at the school thought for sure she could get the door opened so she fetched a hanger and went outside to try again. All of her attempts had failed.
Every minute that passed seemed to leave me more and more desperate.
So as a last resort, I picked up the phone and called another friend, Capt. Shannon Oliver for help. When he said hello, I immediately sobbed into the phone that I needed help. I was practically begging him to come and help me. As I tried to compose myself to tell him what I needed, the elementary school's phone rang and the locksmith could come after all.
I told Shannon that I had someone coming, and he told me to call him when I was on my way.
It would be another 20 minutes before the locksmith would get there and two and a half hours since I had first arrived at Tharptown.
Twenty minutes and $30 after that, I was in my car and on my way back to Russellville. My keys were lying in my passenger seat under my work binder.
When I told my husband Jimmy about the day's events, he asked me only one question about locking my keys in my car: Did you leave the window down?
I guess what comes around goes around, and I will never again joke about locking my keys in my car or anything in that nature.
I'd like to thank everyone who was working help me that day even the locksmith who charged me $30 for his time. He didn't know it but he was my knight for the day.

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