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Bill Kalmar

Quality Insider

Key Fob Faux Pas

A feel-good holiday story

Published: Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - 12:01

Here’s one to hopefully brighten your day. Just this week my wife Mary and I went to Costco for gas. We pulled into the gas pump area, and there was a car just like ours already in the pump area—a white Chevy Malibu. As the elderly gentleman got out of his car, I mentioned that we had the same car, and he smiled as if to acknowledge the comment.

After we pumped our gas and the gentleman did the same, we both returned to our cars. I noticed that he was delaying the exit from the pump area, and then he got out of his car and walked to ours. We opened the window and put on our masks. He then said that his car wouldn’t start and that his wife had the key fob, but she was shopping at Aldi up the block from Costco. He was bewildered and wondered if we could drive him there. Of course we said yes. Certainly we were somewhat troubled what with Covid-19 being rampant in our area, but he was so upset that our sense of kindness and charity kicked in.

As we drove him to Aldi, he remarked that he was 85 years old, that his wife was 80, that the Malibu was her car, and thus she had the key fob in her purse. We arrived at Aldi, and he said that he would walk back to his car. Now let me be frank here: He was 85 years old, and there was no way he was going to walk back to Costco and his car. So we waited for him to return from the store, he got into our car, and we started the drive back to Costco. He wanted us to drop him off at the driveway, but we insisted that we take him all the way to his car. He offered us money, but of course we refused his offer.

We returned to Costco later in the week, and the attendant who was familiar with the incident thanked us for taking the elderly gentleman to his wife. The attendant mentioned that several times a month, people come in for gas, turn off their car engine, and then discover that they do not have the key fob. Apparently, frequently people drop off their spouse or child at the nearby mall and forget to take the key fob with them. And some are young people! So this is not just a senior-citizen incident.

So as a hint, next time you decide to travel to another location after you drop someone off at a store, make sure you have the key fob. Or call us, and we will drive you back to your traveling companion!


About The Author

Bill Kalmar’s picture

Bill Kalmar

William J. Kalmar has extensive business experience, including service with a Fortune 500 bank and the Michigan Quality Council, of which he served as director from 1993 through 2003. He served on the Board of Overseers of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program and has been a Baldrige examiner. He was also named quality professional of the year by the ASQ Detroit chapter. Now semi-retired, Kalmar does freelance writing for several publications. He is a member of the USA Today Vacation Panel, a mystery shopper for several companies, and a frequent presenter and lecturer.


Ford's Solution to Key Fob Faux

When I drop off my wife the car horn sounds when the Fob gets a certain distance.  I wondered why they would take the time to program such a thing but now I've heard it 20 times so now grateful.  Although, you'd think the humans would learn.