Who Stole My Keys?

Everyone loses keys and teachers are notorious for it, but to prevent misplacing mine, I devised a foolproof plan. I wear them. Like charms on a necklace, my bike, car, house, locker, and school keys hang on a lanyard around my neck.

Since I literally run between three departments –English, PE and learning support – my keys open every gym, storage facility and classroom in 5 different buildings. I was dumbfounded when in the blink of an eye between unlocking the changing room door for the PE students and locking up equipment after class, my keys vanish into thin air.

Five teachers help retrace my steps on the great missing key caper. We empty wastebaskets and look behind toilets, under shower stalls, in sinks, on wall bars, under trampolines, on top of shelves and beneath ball bins.

When our search turns up empty, I deduce – someone grabbed my keys out of the door while I chatted with another student. I drag my burly colleague, a former rugby star, to the cafeteria to interrogate the suspects. The boys told us to check with the girls outside at the picnic table; the girls sent us to the smokers’ corner off campus. One guy took the cig out of his mouth long enough to say, “Pas moi, madame” and dump out his book bag as proof. He suggests I see the rest of his class that would be heading to history.

Panic set in. I made a mental, to-do checklist – empty locker, remove valuables from desk, see janitor to deactivate keys to the gyms, department offices, and equipment rooms. Frantically, I call my husband to explain insisting, “Change the house locks. Sell my car before it is stolen.”

“Why would you carry every key you own?” my husband asks.

“So, I won’t lose them.”

“But they are lost.”

“Not lost, stolen!”

I am hyperventilating when I walk into the history class and plead to the students, who I had just confronted in my PE lesson. “Don’t say anything now. No questions asked. Just bring my keys back; my life is on that key chain.”

Désolé Madame, we haven’t seen your keys.”

Dejected, I walk back to the gym where a younger colleague with better eyesight is locking the gym door and shaking his head. No luck. I urge him to search one more time.

So we repeat the process. While I peek under gym mats, Frederic strolls out of the storage room swinging a hook filled with red bibs. Low and behold, behind the bibs dangling from a black UWSP lanyard is a beautiful set of keys. I hug him and then take off.

“Hey,” he hollers. “Where are you going?”

“To apologize to those kids.”

“Wait! Don’t forget your keys!”

I grab my keys, race across campus, knock at the classroom door and eat humble pie as I appeal once again to the students asking for forgiveness.

Then I stroll back to the gym smiling. My faith in humanity is restored by my colleagues’ kindness and my students’ integrity. With my keys jingling ‘round my neck again, all is right with world.

Posted in education, humor.


  1. Hahahahaha, I was back at La Chat there with you, running from pillar to post, waiting for the big find at the end! I lost my keys last week too. I separate mine and have one with a huge tiger on it that is for home and easily found in my bottomless handbag – feel the tiger rump and I know I’m OK. The second work set is on a lanyard and in a special handbag pocket. I know I put them there every day after locking, and the ritual is very OCD. So, when I lose the work ones I begin to doubt my sanity and look in bushes at work, trail along dusty paths from my office to the car park, head back to the library where I last went… Thursday comes, a week later, and my daughter’s music teacher crowns me with my work keys as I approach her. I was so relieved to see them that I didn’t feel too grumpy about her not texting me about them being there all week. Who was at fault? Well, when teenagers raid my handbag for peppermints my ritual becomes floored – mummy’s keys get thrown aside as they seek to satisfy their needs…. gggrrrrrr……. xxxx thanks for the laugh – good to know we are connecting across the globe, even if it is only with key issues!!!

    • Oh Rach, you are so organized that I can’t believe you ever lost anything. Although I think I remember you helping me on another one of my key capers years ago. Loved your anecdote about the key chain with a huge tiger rump. Of course, you know I never carry a handbag because then I would misplace that too. I am wondering why they have invented tennis shoes with key storage compartments. Always so much fun hearing from you. I always appreciate your witty comments.

  2. OMG I can really relate. It’s like my bifocals. Where are they? Who swiped them? (Of course no one in my house has bad eyesight like me!) Now I have a few pairs in every room. I think carrying your keys around your neck is your only option, and I completely understand why you must do that. I am so glad you found them and now keep them dangling around your neck at all times! Fun post, Pat.

    • Cathy, like you I also lose my glasses too. Since my eyes can’t be exposed to too much sunlight I usually wearing sunglasses even indoors, then I can’t find my regular glasses and it is too dark to see clearly, so I go around the house blind groping in every corner. Now that I have my key chain back I am trying to figure out away to carry my glasses on that lanyard too.

  3. Pat, you had me laughing out loud with this one! I can relate to that escalating sense of panic that sets in while looking for lost objects. I usually find them when I’m looking for something else. I guess the moral of the story could be, stop trying to look and it will show up when you least expect it. So happy you found your keys!

    • I agree the best way to find a lost item is to wait until it shows up while looking for something else. The only problem is without my keys I would be teaching my English class in the hallway and sleeping in the garden.

  4. You know what’s funny to me about this, is that at this age, I kinda know where I tend to leave things. It’s humiliating to see your own dumb habits so many times over the years that you’re accustomed to them. Like here’s one: my husband will make a suggestion, which I discard. Then several days or weeks later, his idea percolates to the surface of my brain and I suggest it, having completely forgotten whose idea it was in the first place. So now I say, “You probably already suggested this….” before I unload my big idea! Thanks for the laugh, Pat. I hope your husband didn’t sell the car.

    • Oh Lynne, good thing your preface your statement with “you probably already suggested this,” so your husband doesn’t get mad. ha Glad to hear that there is hope ahead. Maybe next year I won’t be misplacing things so much or at least I won’t have to worry about losing my school keys anymore.

  5. Sis…No Wonder your Neck is out half the time. How many keys do you carry on that lanyard?? Thanks for Laugh this AM and the confirmation we are Not alone when it comes to The Lost Key Episodes!!

    • ha ha I’ll have to ask my chiro if he thinks that ol’ key chain is throwing my neck out of alignment. You inspired this one when I told you about my key saga and you suggested I blog about it since everyone could relate especially teachers whose daily lives are filled with one interruption after another.

  6. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that my new-ish car has a key fob, that never leaves my purse. And I”m completely trained to ALWAYS have my purse with me when I go someplace.
    These days, it’s my credit card! EEK! My daughter uses it to buy gas, and then returns it to the wrong part of my wallet. Or DOESN’T return it!

    • Susan I can so relate. If it is not the keys that I am searching ofr it’s my glasses, or credit card or little notebook I carry with notes on everything I can’t forget. Hope you get your card back before she drains the bank. ha

  7. Hear ya! New in my repertoire is tearing apart my surroundings looking for my phone in a panic – while I’m talking on it! There’s NO dog smart enough to overcome that kind of stupidity! 😉

  8. Poor Pat, it must have been frustrating indeed to go from thinking your valuable keys were misplaced to thinking they were stolen! How quick we can be to assume the very worst! But all is well, my friend — you’re surrounded by caring people, honest students, and a hubby who, I hope, really didn’t sell the car out from under you!! Great story — reminds me to be mindful of my possessions.

  9. Ahem! Speaking of eating humble pie, your story sounds ever so familiar as the one you posted about me in the public US newspapers about losing my passport and drivers licenses (2). Let’s see, how did you put it exactly? Something like “my blonde friend…” Glad to see we are all human after all even if you are a brunette!

    • Okay dear buddy, my secret it out. I dye my hair! I am a blond incognito. No wonder we make such a pair. So great to see you back in land the of cheese and chocolate.

  10. Ah, I bet the loss of the keys was driving you crazy! When things seem to vanish into thin air, it is impossible to not go to great lengths to find them. And especially your keys! So glad they turned up.

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