Back in my room I watched TV for a while, read a few chapters in a book, and went to bed around midnight. The front desk had not called to inform me that my coat and contents had been returned, but I was not particularly concerned.
I realize that this was rather odd, but it has always been my nature to believe the best in people and to expect it – I’m a product of my upbringing, of course. Both my parents preached and practiced personal honesty and integrity. If I had been the one to mistakenly take another’s overcoat I would certainly return it as quickly as possible, even if I were hundreds of miles away when I discovered it.
I don’t think my head had been on the pillow more than ten minutes, when I heard the sound of a key turning and the door starting to open. But I had set the chain lock in addition to the dead bolt. The dead bolt was no deterrent to a key but the chain was. The person attempting to enter my room, pushed hard against the chain just once and then closed the door. Apparently he or she had hoped to find the room unoccupied.
Well now, it had become quite clear that my coat and keys were not going to be returned. I wasn’t worried that the person would make another attempt to gain access to my room – but a new concern arose – my car! Out there in the parking lot was my practically brand new Lincoln Town Car and some stranger who obviously did not have my best interests in mind had my keys which were identifiable as for a Lincoln. I had no intention of going back to bed and wait until morning to see if the car were still there!
So I dressed and packed my luggage and headed down to the lobby where I explained what had happened and that I didn’t intend to stay. I paid the bill and asked the clerk to make me a reservation at a nearby motel. I then checked the phone directory to find a locksmith offering 24 hour service. I was lucky. The first one I called agreed to come directly.
He arrived about a half hour later. While waiting I had gone outside several times to verify that my car was still there. I thought it had been cold when I was wearing my overcoat and gloves, but that had paled in comparison to being coatless and gloveless! 😦 When the locksmith arrived I told him the make, model, color, license plate number and location of the car; then I waited in the warmth of the lobby.
He didn’t take long – it couldn’t have been more that 20 minutes. He returned and gave me a new key and his bill -which I paid and added a generous tip.
Then it was out into the frigid night for the five mile drive to my new motel. shivering all the way. It wasn’t long enough for the car’s heater to work its magic. It was close to 3 AM before I was once again in bed.
I was able to stay in the sack much later than I would normally, because I was going to have to buy a coat and gloves, and I knew there wouldn’t be any stores open until at least 10 AM. After having a complementary continental breakfast at my motel I went to a department store in a nearby mall and bought an overcoat and gloves – then it was back onto the Interstate Highway homeward, sadder but wiser!