Random Acts of Kindness...they still exist


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As I sit here watching tonight's yearly bit of political theatre with bottle of chilled vodka and shot glass in hand, fully expecting that I'll have a headache in the morning, I recall a very nice kindness that someone bestowed upon me a couple of days ago...

My latest 'new to me' vehicle acquisition came, as so many do, with only one key. Because I'm such a worrywart about not having a spare, I always obtain another as soon as I can, and when I can, order OEM blank spares through eBay, all the while thinking as the person hands me the key and states "there's no other"... 'how can people be so stupid, to willingly possess one key', knowing that if it's lost, it's going to be a very costly problem?

New blank in hand, I make the relatively short drive to Ace hardware, my store of choice to have keys cut. I walk up to the empty counter at the back of the store, lazily lean on it, and begin removing old / new keys from the ring, in prep. One of the store clerks sees me and asks if I'm being helped. They're so good, that way. Not the cheapest store, but more often than not, they'll have the little obscure things I'm looking for, and their customer service reminds me of "the way things used to be", being old enough to remember.

"No, I just got here," I replied. To which he told me that the guy who normally cuts the keys is out on a call helping (!) someone with their new keys, and would be back in about 20min.

Since standing at the counter or idly browsing aisles for things I don't really need and won't really use didn't appeal to me, I suggested that I'd come back, since I had other errands to run. Mildly annoyed (but not showing it), I walked out of the store, started up the Voy and proceeded to take care of those other things on that day's 'to-do' list.

Circling back about an hour or so later, I arrive back at the hardware store. My keymaker was finishing up with another customer (who I was admiring, on the sly), and greeted me.

"I want to make this... into THIS ," I show him, alternately holding up new and old keys to illustrate.
He looks at both, and tells me... "I'll still have to charge you, per the chart here". As if I expected him to cut the thing, gratis ? I look at him and tell him that's fine... that I would've bought the key there, but they didn't carry OEM blanks. He takes another quick look at them, and the look of realization strikes him. "Oh", he says, starting his walk toward the duplicating machine. "Well, excuuuuse me!", he says, playfully.

"I'm old enough to remember that, btw," I retort. I think back to when Steve Martin made his TV break, assisted by SNL, eventually blossoming into the multi-talented renaissance man he became. And at the time, my then-12 year old self thought "why is his hair so white, when he's so young?" My now-54 year old self now asks why my own hair isn't white yet (gingers don't go grey.)

Meanwhile, the fancy duplicating machine springs to life. This ain't your dad's key cutter, kids...nope...this is all fancy-like...quiet, computer controlled, a 'chamber' for the keys...I daresay there's a laser in the machine. But I can't see it close-up, and for whatever reason, I'm not 'intellectually curious' about finding out more about it (rare for me, I'll admit)

In a couple of minutes, it's all over. The duplicating process ends, and the machine stops. The clerk retrieves the new twins, separated by years, but otherwise identical (not really, but it wrote well, so I kept it in...lol).

"This is your lucky day."
I look at him, quizzically. How does he know how my day's been going?
He then elaborates..."I'm not going to charge you for this," as he hands me the keys. "Have a good evening"
"Why aren't you charging me? I don't expect you to do this for free"
"Well, I'm not 'guaranteeing' the cut, either," he replies with a smile on his face (when they sell the key, and especially if it's a 'chip' key, they guarantee that it'll work. As an aside, I've never had a bad one from them, no matter the source.)

I tell him that I'll still instruct the cashier to charge me, anyway.
"No...she won't be able to...not without something from me," he smiles.
Further attempts to contribute to his profits prove futile. I thank him again, and wish him a good evening.
Heading out of the store, I stroll past the same cashier I encountered an hour or so earlier, greeting him (not a typo) again, as I walk out of the store a second time without contributing to his till.

As I stroll back to the Envoy, I think... "yeah...it is my 'lucky day'.
In this case, the monetary value of my 'luck' equalled $3.99 + tax. Hardly a princely sum.
But I walked out of that store feeling like royalty.

Deleted member 20902

I can't even explain how in-depth you described our local Ace Hardware! It has been around for a long time and no lie, it is by far the best place to get keys made. If I didn't think about the odds, I would say we were in the same town!

Enjoyed the read, thank you!


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Glad you enjoyed it. The vodka made me throw caution to the wind 🥃


I like out local Do It Best store. At this point they will tell us to take one and try it, if it works come back and pay for it or just bring it back. With all our rental property it is easier than buying and returning so many things to fix problems. The employees will see us and come right to help gather whatever may be needed. More expensive on the parts but damn is the service good.

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