The Great Key Fob Caper 🔑

Pondering that time my Uber driver was unable to finish the trip because they stopped for gas and realized they left their key fob at home.

(Obi Onyeador/Unsplash)

A couple of years ago, I had something happen to me while riding in an Uber that I simply do not understand to this day.

The driver picked me up, then needed to get some gas—I was like, sure, whatever, I can wait, I’m in no rush. But when they got to the gas station, they made a realization that I’ll never forget: They couldn’t restart the car because they couldn’t find their key fob.

A key fob, for those not familiar, is a digital device that people use in place of a key. You don’t have to stick it into the ignition, but that also means that it can, in many cases, keep your car operating even without a key nearby. These keyless entry tools have gained popularity in recent years, but they’re not without security issues.

So this poor driver, stuck at a fuel pump, is having to dig through her cushions—front and back—and in their trunk in an effort to find this thing that’s considered necessary for the vehicle to work … but they can’t find it. At first, I was dedicated to this poor woman’s plight, and stuck with them, but when it increasingly became clear that they were going to be unable to fulfill the ride, I eventually had to switch vehicles—though I absolutely felt awful for the person and let them know that.

So, the question in my brain is this: How does something like this happen?

The YouTube channel AutoVlog did a video on this topic a few years ago in which the creator of said video threw their key fob out of a moving vehicle:

“You don't really know that it's gone until you get to the destination you were going and you stop the car,” creator Michael Vaim stated.

Only after that does the vehicle freak out and raise concerns about the keys not being there. Which is what happened to this poor driver when they stopped for gas.

Now, one can imagine what might have happened to lead to this terrible state of affairs. Perhaps a prior passenger picked up the keys, thinking they were theirs; perhaps they left them on the kitchen counter; perhaps they stepped out of their vehicle at some point and their key fell out of their pocket. Either way, it was a terrible situation for them and likely one that ruined their week.

Of course keyless fobs are a relatively recent invention, dating to the mid-’90s. It wasn’t that long ago that vehicles came with multiple sets of keys that served different functions in a single vehicle.

They were a big step forward when they were first released. But with every step forward, there’s always the potential for a step back.

Time limit given ⏲: 30 minutes

Time left on clock ⏲: 31 seconds

Ernie Smith

Your time was just wasted by Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the editor of Tedium, and an active internet snarker. Between his many internet side projects, he finds time to hang out with his wife Cat, who's funnier than he is.

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