As some of you know, I travel a fair amount for work. I've been on an assignment in Southern California, and because of its length, I have a short-term corporate rental in Pasadena.
Last Wednesday, I headed back to the East Coast for meetings. I left my apartment in Pasadena at about 4 a.m. and headed toward LAX, but first needed to drop my rental car off. I've never left anything in my rental car before. However, this time, in the chaos of returning the car and retrieving my belongings, I forgot to take my apartment keys off the key ring of the car keys. I had the keys in my hand to give to the woman checking in my rental car. She told me I could leave them in the car (they have to turn it on to check mileage, gas, etc.) so I stuck them back in the ignition, forgetting to take my apartment keys off.
I realized I had forgotten my keys when I landed at Dulles Airport. I immediately called the rental car company. Of course, the car I had was rented out 10 minutes after I returned it. I was told they would contact the renter and see if my keys were in the car. I had just arrived at the rental car facility near Dulles and ended my call with the LAX facility. The gentlemen at the counter in Dulles’ facility were able to put a hold of the car for its return (apparently they can do a hold for lost items). Their customer service was the best I had seen ever at a rental car facility. They put the facility at LAX to shame.
Unfortunately, three more phone calls to the LAX rental car facility and checking the lost and found upon my return yesterday did not yield my keys. Although, I’m still not sure where they would have gone as they were attached to the rental car keys. Supposedly the people who prep the cars remove those items for lost and found. Whateves. Fortunately, there was no information about the rental, so I didn't have to worry about anyone breaking in to my apartment.
Knowing I may not get my keys for my return yesterday, I had already prepared Plan B. Apparently, I should have also prepared Plan C.
Thursday morning, I called the leasing company for my apartment to let them know I had lost my keys and would need new ones. I explained when I would return and need the keys as I was currently locked out of the building. I received an email Friday saying they could make me new keys and to approve the charges for the garage opener, elevator fob, and apartment and mail keys ($90!). Of course, I said yes.
On Monday, I emailed to confirm they would be delivered and asked for confirmation of the lock box code where the keys would be, as I knew I would arrive after business hours and it would be difficult if I had a problem. They confirmed the code and assured me the keys would be there waiting for me.
As promised, there was an envelope with my name on it. Yippee!
Garage door opener works. Check. Elevator fob works. Check. New apartment key works. No Check.
The key didn't work. I must have fiddled with it for 10 or 15 minutes thinking maybe because it was new, it didn't work perfectly. No dice. The key did not work. Who freaking makes a key for a tenant and doesn't confirm that it is the right key and/or that it works? WTF?
I called the leasing office’s emergency phone number. The gentleman that I worked with was a saint. Andrew was so nice and understanding (I may have cried the third time I talked to him). He was located in Arizona, not SoCal. So he paged the maintenance man. As it turns out, maintenance can’t take care of lockouts. The maintenance man tried to call the building manager to see if she could let me in. Nope, she wasn't around.
It was cold out. Leave it to me to get locked out on a record-breaking cold day in the Los Angeles area. It hadn't been this cold in more than 22 years, since December 1990. It was only 37 degrees out last night while I was in the cold and trying to find shelter.
After the third call with Andrew, I was teary. I’d been up for 20 hours. I was sick, exhausted from being sick and from traveling, freezing, and just wanted to go to bed. Not to mentioned the fact that I had to work today and try to function.
Andrew sent a locksmith who was able to let me in. I’m still waiting for a new key, but at least I am in and warm. I’m working from “home” today, as I can’t leave my apartment until I get a new key. I also have no food since I haven’t been to the grocery store since I got back last night. But I have coffee. Thank god. Maybe I’ll order take out for lunch.
For 2 hours, I had a glimpse of what being homeless felt like (kind of; obviously I know I could have gone to a hotel if I needed to), but it was miserable nonetheless. Not a feeling I would like to have again anytime soon. Dear God, it’s me, Jana. I promise not to lose my keys again.