The lock on our front door operated oddly for years. In a complicated combination, it had a dead bolt and a door-handle lock that locked behind you, leaving you locked out outside when not carrying the key. That was not its only problem.
The key was the real oddity. While it unlocked the lower door-handle lock, it would neither lock nor unlock the dead bolt from the outside. We regarded this as normal operation, believing that the dead bolt locked only from the inside.
Thus, we never exited through the front door when leaving the house. We opted instead to throw the dead bolt from inside, then leave by another door. This required re-entry through that other door also. We thought ourselves clever to practice adaptive entry-exit procedures without using the front door, which, after all, is why houses have front doors.
In a current need to secure our garage door better, we fashioned another exit procedure to disable the garage door from opening at all. The new procedure, however, required departure through the front door — something new for everything and everyone involved.
Two things were wrong with this departure protocol: 1) the front door did not have a delay on the security system, thus disallowing arming the alarm AND leaving through the front door; and 2) the key stuck steadfastly in the door lock upon throwing the dead bolt from the outside. A security service call would fix Number 1. Number 2 was a bona fide emergency.
A swift internet search for a locksmith in a rural Rocky Mountain region yielded results. Bob’s Locksmith, a mom-and-pop business, said they would come out. This was Miracle #1 as it was a Saturday, it was night, and our location was unfamiliar to the lady who answered at Bob’s.
Miracle #2 happened when an attractive young lady drove her panel truck up our driveway from a very rural 40 miles away. She arrived in less time than expected and was the locksmith daughter of Bob of Bob’s Locksmith Services. She was an expert and with obvious confidence, she unstuck the key from the lock almost immediately while immediately announcing that the lock was not operating as it should. No kidding. For 1.5 decades, it was not operating as it should.
She made adjustments, screwed and unscrewed things, repositioned the assembly within the 3-inch-thick door, and lubed the lock with something much better than our WD-40 ever could. Miracle #3 happened upon her demonstration that the unstuck key would now lock both the door lock and the dead bolt from outside, all without jamming, and all pretty easily. In the next thirty seconds and without hesitation or asking, she cut a spare key for us in the back of her panel truck.
The young lady learned locksmithing from her dad, Bob, practiced the trade proudly for 15 years since her high school days, and now owned and operated the business. They were the same 15 years that we remained clueless about our flawed lock and found ourselves helpless with the key jammed in it on this night, then unjammed by the gal who had learned about locks while we ignored ours.
Reliable locking was now a new experience for our front door. We lived with that flawed lock from Day One in our house. This young lady came in from the night to fix it in minutes.
Similarly, it was a new experience to encounter a young woman willing to serve clueless customers with her locksmithing expertise on a cold, dark, Saturday night in the mountains rather than boogieing in the backwoods with her buddies. Her fearlessness, can-do attitude, and customer orientation were refreshing and, oh, so rare in more urban areas, where professorial “puffed wheat” tradesmen provide service only upon appointments scheduled way in advance and never on weekends, nights, or when you need it the most.
We can now use our front door for the function it was intended. We now need no special ingress and egress strategies. No more wiring around problems caused by flawed installations, faulty products, or both. We have a special respect for ever-ready entrepreneurial trade expertise provided when it is needed rather than when it is convenient to provide.