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Bubbies, Babies and Locksmiths


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It was an exceptionally hot and humid day in Toronto. I was driving the car with my bubbie sitting next to me, and baby Shmueli in the back. I suddenly remembered that I needed a small item at the local supermarket. I gently asked my bubbie if she would stay in the car with the baby while I ran into the store. My bubbie warmly replied, “Go, my shefele [sweetheart].”

Well, that one item quickly transformed into six. Not a problem. The express line always went quickly, and I would be out in a few minutes. However, to my disappointment, there were about 10 people ahead of me, and the cashier seemed to be moving in slow motion.

Meanwhile, the baby started to cry hysterically in the van. Bubbie’s reaction was to immediately get out of the front seat to soothe the baby in the back. But as soon as she shut the front door, all the doors of the van automatically locked, leaving the key in the ignition to keep the air conditioning working.

My elderly bubbie stood locked out of the car in sweltering weather, feeling miserable and helpless. The motor was running, the air conditioning blowing, and the baby crying uncontrollably.

When I finally emerged from the store, I was shocked to behold a drenched and exasperated bubbie standing next to the van. Something terrible must have transpired in the few minutes I was away.

“What took you so long?” asked my bubbie excitedly. “The baby was crying, and when I went to check on him, the doors locked on me.”

I needed to be cool and collected to assess the situation. My husband had another set of car keys, but he worked 45 minutes away. I quickly called Honda and they informed me that they could show up in 50 minutes. Of course, that was out of the question. Then I telephoned the fire department. They arrived in three minutes with bells clanging and sirens blaring. Suddenly, everyone in the parking lot was gawking at us. To make matters worse, the firemen covered the van with a blanket so the baby would not suffocate in the heat – just in case the air conditioning was not working properly. They said that the only way to rescue the baby was to break one of the windows.

I quickly called Chaveirim, but no one answered. In desperation I phoned Hatzolah and, Baruch Hashem, they responded and were exceedingly helpful. They immediately tracked down someone from Chaveirim.

Within minutes, a young chassidishe man with long peyos and a beard appeared in a beaten-up old car and hurried over holding a small leather black kit. The firemen took one look at this humble-looking fellow and sternly warned him, “You have two minutes to open the door or we’ll break the window to rescue the baby.” It was a scene straight from David and Goliath.

The chassid calmly replied, “No problem. I can do it.” Then, to prove he meant business, he dramatically turned on his timer for exactly two minutes. This tzaddik quickly took his tools from his bag and in a few magical seconds, opened the car doors. The firemen were stunned. They gave this wonderful chassidishe fellow a big handshake and a slap on the back. And then everyone dispersed.

I thought this unpleasant episode in my life had drawn to a close but, lo and behold, as soon as I got to my driveway, there was a locksmith’s car! What was this about? It seems that my tenant had locked herself out of her apartment, and had called the locksmith to open her door.

What did I learn from this life episode?

“Min ha’meitzar karati Kah, anani bamerchav Kah – From the straits I called to Hashem, and He answered me with expansiveness.”

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It was an exceptionally hot and humid day in Toronto. I was driving the car with my bubbie sitting next to me, and baby Shmueli in the back. I suddenly remembered that I needed a small item at the local supermarket. I gently asked my bubbie if she would stay in the car with the baby while I ran into the store. My bubbie warmly replied, “Go, my shefele [sweetheart].”

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