This is what I noted to myself after what happened few hours ago. My wife, my toddler son and I drove back home after having dinner at a nearby Chinese restaurant and we parked our car in our apartments’ parking lot. The routine is generally I get my son out of the car seat and carry him home while my wife carries her bag and other stuff from the car.
Today my wife and I wanted to have little fun with our toddler son just before getting him out of his car seat. My wife took her bags out and said, “bye bye dear”… I joined the fun and giving the car keys to my son said “honey here are the car keys, you go enjoy your drive we are going home” saying that we both closed the door just to see how he reacts. Within a second, with the car keys in my son’s little hands, he pressed the lock button. There it was… the whole car was locked down with him in the car seat and both of us outside the car completely panicked.
The spare car key was in the home but to make things worse, the home key was also with the car keys that my son was holding inside the car. I did not have my home keys with me either to get into the home. Just before going out to dinner, I had intentionally left my keys at home to keep my pockets light. We also called emergency help from the apartment leasing office to get the spare apartment key but they did not have our spare key with them either. The apartment service guy and I climbed up the ladder to try to break into the home but were not successful. As all of this was going on my wife was able to get some help from a kind neighbor and he called AAA emergency assistance to help us out of our predicament.
While help was coming, my son was already in the car for about 30 minutes and we were worried if there was enough air circulation in the car. I was seriously considering breaking the car window glass but my wife was fearful of glass pieces hitting our son causing him injury and also him accidentally putting the glass pieces in his mouth. The only thing we could do was wait for help to come.
Now as for our dear son, he was the bravest. He not only kept his cool but also kept himself entertained throughout the whole ordeal. For a while, after getting locked in, he played with the car keys and kept pushing the lock button and enjoyed the flashing of lights. After a while, he was bored, tossed off the car keys and kept looking at us with amusement. To keep him engaged, we played his favorite cartoon videos on the phone and had it on the rear window shield all the while. Since the past week, our son was not allowed any screen time and this opportunity of watching video with absolutely no disturbance whatsoever was total fun for him.
Finally help arrived and the AAA guy was able to pop open the car lock and our son was out after about 45 mins. Amidst all this, the only thing that was going in my mind was how stupid I was to give the car keys to a toddler and closing the car door. In the past, I have many times reminded my wife never to leave the car keys in the car and close the door but this time, I did it myself. My wife promptly reminded me of the self-fulfilling prophecy concept I keep talking about and said that what I feared all along finally occurred.
Stupidity and lack of common sense is generally what’s behind many disasters and time and again I keep reading about it. It is not intelligence but avoiding stupidity is what I should practice more.
Charlie Munger who I consider as the Ben Franklin of our times (in wit and brilliance) writes about avoiding stupidity all the time. Here is a quote that I had saved a while back and want to reflect more on this today –
Writing is the best form of learning and the only purpose of this post is to learn again – AVOID STUPIDITY… at all costs.