I had a breakfast scheduled this morning with a business associate. Those of you who know me know I am always early for my appointments and I got ready to leave with plenty of time. I went to the foyer where we keep the “key bowl” and didn’t see the keys to my truck. Then I remembered my son drove my truck over the weekend and he didn’t inherit my gene (my wife thinks it is a personality disorder) for always putting things where they belong. Being an understanding and flexible person, I grabbed a set of keys to another car and left for breakfast. As I turned on to the main road and started to drive away, I heard what sounded like a tree branch scraping along the roof of the car. “What the heck???” was my thought. I pulled over, didn’t see anything on the road, looked on the roof and nothing seemed out of the ordinary, and continued on to breakfast. As I was driving along my mind started wandering about the noise on the roof.
As I got to the traffic light I wondered if there could be a connection between my keys not being in the bowl and the strange noise on the roof – like maybe the noise was actually my keys sliding off the roof of the car?. I have a device called a Tile on all my keychains that is meant to help you locate lost items (those of you who read my blog on the lost car keys in Rhode Island know in that case the Tile only told me where the keys weren’t and not where they were). While at the traffic light I brought up the Tile app on my phone and sure enough the app said the last place it saw my keys was on the main road about a half mile behind me. I find a spot to turn around, knowing full well that my safety buffer for being early to breakfast was just consumed, and headed back the way I came. I marked the Tile as lost which means that as soon as I come within about 50 feet of it I will get an alert. I got the alert and begin scanning the roadway as I drive back towards home. Don’t you know it, there they were, lying in the middle of the road – it only looks like they were run over once. I pull over and reclaim the keys. I resume my trip to breakfast and only arrive a few minutes late, but with a story to tell.
As with most experiences, I have a couple of takeaways. First is that connecting the dots is an important function in life. Second, having the right tools available can make a huge difference when things go wrong. Just like it is hard to tell a great leader from a mediocre leader when times are good, when issues and adversity arise, having the right resources make all the difference. I guess I have one more takeaway, this is why we always put our keys in the key bowl.