Some folks worry too much about those who are always looking to get something for nothing, when they should be appreciating those who are always looking to “give” something for nothing. This was my opinion after speaking to my wife as she was leaving Alabama heading toward Greenville, South Carolina.

I was at work and had missed a call from her by about five minutes, so I called her back. I asked the obligatory, “Is everything OK?” I knew she had left the Florida Panhandle early in the morning and traveled through Enterprise, Alabama to check on an aunt who had been in the hospital.

So, I try to keep my phone available when either she or one of my three children are traveling. We have three in college in three different states, so I pretty much sleep with my phone.

She answered my question by asking, “It depends on what you consider OK?” Knowing her, I knew that things were not ok. She explained that she had stopped in Valley, Alabama while traveling north on Interstate 85 to get a snack and put gas in the car.

The trouble with these new-fangled push button keyless cars is that you don’t need a key to put in the ignition to start the car. Sure, there are all these complex safety features they include so you can’t lock yourself out. After over 30 years of working with the space program, I also understand that nothing is “fool-proof” or in this case “dog-proof.”

As she pumped the gas, our 14 year-old miniature poodle, “Maddie,” anxiously jumped and pawed at the window knowing she could help put gas in the car and possibly meet a few new people in the process. She did it. She locked the door with my wife’s keys, purse and phone inside. My wife had just taken her wallet out of her purse to pump the gas.

That’s when my wife realized she was down and locked out in Valley, Alabama. Yes, we have one of those national services that will come change your tire, fill up your tank and unlock your car, but you are never quite sure how long it will take.

My wife went inside the gas station where a nice young lady let her use the store’s phone. She called the national roadside assistance service and they took the information and told her that they would send someone as soon as possible.

Fortunately, it was a cool rainy day for a little dog to sit happily in the car. As my wife stood and waited by the car, a number of nice people stopped and tried to help her (and Maddie). People were trying to bribe our little poodle into unlocking the door. One girl even offered her pork rinds to unlock the door, but she just wouldn’t do it. After hearing that, I thought I might even unlock the door for my wife for a pork rind; I knew I would for some boiled peanuts.

This is the same dog that would stand on the pedal to flip the lid of our kitchen trash can up so our big Standard Poodle could stick his head in and “go shopping.” She wasn’t going to unlock the door.

Then another fellow stopped by with phone in hand and started calling his friends telling them the situation that my wife and dog were in. He was kind enough to stay with her and he wasn’t giving up.

After an hour, she was still locked out and the dog was still locked in. The national roadside assistance service fellow did show up, but didn’t have any luck getting in the vehicle to release our dog, and reunite her with my wife.

The nice fellow on the phone finally got a friend from a local body shop who had a “balloon gadget” of some sort according to my wife that opened the door up and allowed her to travel on to Greenville, South Carolina.

She did note that our dog, Maddie, seemed to be complaining about not getting the pork rind all the way to Greenville.

The call from my wife didn’t come until it was all over. If she had, I would have called her phone which was inside the car and talked to the dog and we could have discussed how silly she looked locked out of the car and perhaps have had a debate about plain versus barbecue pork rinds.


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