Today I became almost a hero – no doubt for a very short time but it felt good to be able to help someone. I was reminded just how useful a small, simple gadget that I made long ago can be. Perhaps you will need one at some point in the future…
As the elevator arrived I stood aside for an older woman in a wheelchair and a younger one, probably her daughter, pushing the wheelchair and laden down with packages. Just as it seemed we were safely inside I heard a slightly out-of-place clink, assumed it to relate to the wheel chair, thought nothing of it, and reached for the door close button.
“Oh, said the wheelchair pusher,” I think I dropped something. She checked around, then “My car keys!”
I re-opened the doors. We both looked around, no keys. I looked at the little gap between elevator and hallway. So did she. “That’s where the sound came from she said.” Her voice pitched a little higher as she realized the problem that faced her.
I knew how near the security folk were, and that I had to be ready to head out to an appointment in less than 15 minutes. I thought, then, that there was nothing I could do, so I wished her the best of luck and hurried to my apartment… thinking.
By the time I was ready to head out, the thinking had clicked. I went to the refrigerator and took with me the simplest and cheapest of gadgets.
As I headed toward the lobby, I passed the two-level elevator, where the lady and two security people were sitting on the floor, reaching through the elevator gap with bits of wire. (I am sure that an elevator mechanic could have solved the problem in ten minutes flat, but I am not sure how long it would have taken them to get there, and how much it would have cost. I suspect both numbers are fairly high.) Clearly our very resourceful security folk were determined to solve the problem themselves.
I handed them my gadget, told them I wanted it returned when they were done with it, and left.
On my return, one of the team was on duty in the lobby, and I learned that I was a hero. My gadget had enabled the keys to be retrieved and I was thanked enthusiastically! Sometimes becoming a hero is so easy it is ridiculous.
That little hero-maker consists of a round magnet about the size and shape of a quarter or other medium sized coin, glued firmly to a very, very long piece of string. I had made it after dropping my car keys into the exact spot in a car, between the seat and the center block, that is impossible to reach no matter how far back or forward you move the seat. Why I had attached so long a piece of string I have no idea, but it seemed like a good idea at the time – as it turned out to be.
So… do you have a handy magnet attached to any kind of string or cord? Or something similar? And if not… why not? Remember, I made mine not for such drama as car keys dropped beneath an elevator, but for an inconvenience that can happen to almost anyone. It is really easy. Again, all you need is a long piece of string, some kind of super strong glue, and a magnet small enough to get into tight spaces. I think mine came in a pack of six. In order to both preserve the power of the magnet and have it easily reached, it belongs on the side of the refrigerator.
I hope you never need one, but if you do… maybe it would be good to be prepared? Who knows, yours might some day make you, too, a hero.
P.S. It’s pretty good for picking up paperclips, screws, etc. without having to bend down, too.