Thank Goodness for Keychain Cards

By Michelle Hutchinson

Key chain with scan card and polka-dotted heart charm

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and

I never lose things, and not only that, I know where items are when other people lose them. Just ask my kids. “Ma, where’s my baseball cap?” Next to your sneakers…just where you left it. “Mom, where’s my notebook?” On the dining room table…just where you left it.

So it was pretty odd when I left my doctor’s office recently and couldn’t find my keychain, which not only included the keys to my car but to my house as well. I dumped the contents of my purse onto the carpeted floor of the doctor’s office (yes, that brought some stares), but still no keys. I tried to follow the advice I give others when they lose something: retrace your steps.

Step 1: I went out to the parking lot. Had I locked my keys in my car when I arrived at the doctor’s office? Fortunately, I keep an extra car key in my wallet, so I was actually able to search my car. Nope, the keys were not there.

Step 2: Retraced my path from the car to the office door and the office door to the reception desk. No luck.

Step 3: I had signed in on the clipboard at the reception desk. Had I put my keys down on the counter while I signed in? I couldn’t remember, so I asked the receptionist if she had found a set of keys. She hadn’t. I insisted that she check under all the papers and files, in case my keys had fallen from the counter onto her work area. She was none too pleased but did as I asked. Still nothing.

Step 4: I asked the receptionist if I could retrace my steps from the waiting room to the exam room to see if the keys could have fallen out of my purse along the way. She rolled her eyes but indulged me. Nada…and the door of the exam room was closed. I knew I didn’t have the authority to go in there and search, but I kindly flagged down a nurse in the hallway and explained my situation. She assured me that she would get me from the reception area when the exam room was empty and we could search it together. Did she have any idea how long that might be? No.

Okay. Back to the waiting room. Fifteen minutes. Thirty minutes. Did the nurse forget about me? Finally, after forty minutes, the nurse summoned me back. We searched. Bubkes.

What more could I do without asking the staff to turn the office upside down and have them think I was a lunatic? The worrywart in me called my husband and told him cancel all our credit cards since my missing keychain had a gasoline-partner tag on it that was linked to my Mastercard. He said he’d cancel the Mastercard but none of the others; he felt no one could access our other credit cards simply by having access to one card.

Using the extra car key in my wallet, I started my car and drove home. Fortunately, my daughter was there to let me in. I took her house keys and ran out to a big-box store to have a new set made for me. Of course, all that time I kept wondering if I should have the locks on the house changed. After all, if someone had my keys and was able to get my address by somehow accessing my Mastercard account, then that person could break into the house. On the other hand, if someone had my keys, wouldn’t that person have stolen my vehicle from the parking lot of the doctor’s office by using the panic button on my fob to match the keys to the car? (Do you ever have these debates with yourself?) So where were my keys? Was I losing my mind too?

Fast forward five hours: The phone rings. It’s the store manager from a Publix supermarket in Alpharetta, two towns north of my home. Someone had turned my keys into the customer service desk and the manager was able to trace them to me because I had a Publix Partners scan card on the keychain. That was odd. I hadn’t been in Alpharetta that day, much less to any supermarket, but I sighed with relief and headed off to get my keys.

When I got to Publix, the gal behind the customer service counter explained that a woman had been shopping there about an hour earlier, and when she reached into her purse to get her keys so that the cashier could scan her Publix Partners card, she realized that the keys she was holding weren’t hers. Had she been to the same doctor’s office I’d been to that day? Yes, indeed, and she had accidentally taken my keys off the counter when she’d signed in on the clipboard next to mine. Well, thank goodness for keychain scan cards. I just wish she had pulled my keys out of her purse when she’d left the doctor’s office; it would have saved me from a canceled credit card and five hours of thinking I was going insane.

No more leaving keys on business counters for me. Nope. Those keys go right into my purse when I get out of the car.

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