We have a close nit team working at Toplock Locksmiths – sure we are a workplace but we make sure all our crew feel supported and welcome. It takes a long time to find good people in this industry and when you find them.. you want to do everything in your power to keep them. Once a week we do a catch up session to talk over jobs done, challenges faced…. we share experiences and solutions and thus the whole team learns and improves. It can be all sorts of things. Someone might have found a faster way to get from a. to b. so its programmed into our GPS systems so everyone can use it. Someone might have been called out to an apartment to replace a broken lock, and realised the whole apartment building had the same poor quality locks fitted so we’d get in touch with the corporate body to help them with it. Or someone might just have a funny lockout story.
Usually they are real and serious…. but I got seriously punked in the end of 2013 with this one.
I hesitate to write about this ‘event’ because even now, after two and a half years, the memory of that night still sends a chill down my spine. But I’ve finally gathered the courage to tell the story without breaking out into a cold sweat, so here goes.
At exactly 11:35 pm on October 31st 2011, we received a call from the Northcote Cemetery saying could we send someone over immediately because there was a lockout emergency, a family crypt lock had been broken and a widow was trying to get in on the anniversary of her husband’s death. I remember the exact time because I was having a hot cup of hot chocolate and looked at the clock just as the call was patched through to me. My first thought was actually as “black humour” as you can get: “Now who’d be in a hurry to get into a cemetery before midnight on Halloween?” Of course I couldn’t say that to the client so I took down his name and said I’d meet him at the gate in 5 minutes. It was actually only a two-minute drive away on Separation Street and though I was thinking “I better finish this hot chocolate – it might be my last.” I got straight in the van and was on my way.
Anyway, five minutes later I was at the front gate and there was nobody there. Now, the street is well-lit, but the cemetery itself isn’t a place that can actually be well-lit. What I mean is, no matter how much light you get in there, it’s…well, a cemetery.
So now I’ve been there for about 10 minutes and my watch shows me it’s ten minutes to midnight. On Halloween Eve. Beside a graveyard.
Then I hear the distinct voice of a little girl right behind me, “Please sir. Let me in. I must get in now.” I nearly jumped out of my skin at the sound of her voice, but what really had my hairs on end was the fact that there was no one about! Now I’m not the easiest guy to scare – I always watched The Exorcist alone – and at night; but this was too much. Sweating like a horse now, I scanned the bushes nearby to see if someone was hiding there. I found no one. That voice came in loud and clear again: “Please sir. Let me in. I must get in now.” It was one minute to midnight.
On the strike of 12, there was a loud scream from the same girl and I nearly wet the front of my pants. I ran to my car as quick as I could, but then I heard laughter – men this time, several of them.
In about a minute I was feeling like a mug because four guys from my office rolled out of a car nearby laughing their heads off with a “Trick or Treat!” They had hidden a small Bluetooth MP3 player in the bushes with the girl’s voice recorded – I found out it was the daughter of one of the guys – and had been trying to keep from laughing out loud until it was time to break it to me.
I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life! I was a good sport, they said; I was a true hero, they said – laughing all the while. Needless to say a the catch up meeting the following week, it was my adventure that got top billing.
I can’t complain though – it really was a well executed trick… I just wish it had been on someone else other than me.
Watch out guys…. pranks go both ways and I’ll be thinking hard about mine.