by Kim Wiezycki

Don’t all kids have a story they like you to retell? This is my kids’ favorite. It’s what I like to call a “real mom moment.”

When Adam was 2 1/2 and Luke was a newborn, I had this dumb habit of getting Luke’s back-breaking car carrier out first, shutting the door, and walking to the other side of the Jeep to unbuckle Adam and get him out. One glorious, hot, 98-degree, sunny, Florida day I am parked at Publix, where I have shopped for 20 years and know everyone. I do my usual get-carrier-close-door-get toddler routine but this time I gave my toddler my car keys to hold while I get his baby brother. As I walk to Adam’s side of the car, I hear “kachunk!” as my car doors… lock.

Trying to remain calm, I gently tell Adam how to push the ‘big button’ but he thinks it’s funny that I’m talking to him through the window. As I begin to panic, my tone gets more hysterical and he panics and gets hysterical and…throws the keys into the front seat, starts screaming and starts breathing up all the oxygen too fast because I’m convinced he only has 2 minutes worth remaining.

I can see the fire station from where I am standing. Help is seconds away! I have no cell phone so I resort to begging a Publix shopper to call 911 because I am convinced my son will die of heat stroke or suffocate if we don’t open the door NOW! But the fire truck was not coming fast enough for me! So, the kind man, who I am sure still has a scar on his right hand today, busted a window so I could get a door unlocked and rescue my son before I got arrested for neglect. Just as soon as he bloodied up his hand being my hero….enters the fire truck complete with sirens and lights. It was a wonderful spectacle.

And that is my “smart moms don’t give their toddlers the car keys” Public Service Announcement.


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