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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Palmer

Locked Out

Updated: May 10



Locked Out.  After a beautiful drive from Kentucky to Virginia, I moved some of my things into my friend’s house (she was out of town), put down my phone, and promptly got locked out.  Before you panic, Archie was outside with me, or the next step would have been to break windows or knock down doors.  

I didn’t know how reliant I was on technology until this incident.  Let’s review the steps and see what lessons can be learned.

  • I needed to connect with the homeowner (Katie).  She was in my contacts on my phone.  Who could help?  I knew my kids’ phone numbers and thought they had access to my email.  How could I reach my children?  I could borrow a phone from a kind stranger, but would that be too large an ask since it was not a single call but an amount of time to work through a solution?  

  • I found an old iPad in the car (remember I have everything I own with me) and immediately started charging it.  An earlier text from Katie had pointed out that they had a very complex Wi-Fi passcode – so logging into the house Wi-Fi would be impossible.  I headed out, writing down the address since that was in Waze and I wasn’t sure I could make it back otherwise.  

  • Wi-Fi access was not as easy as I had hoped (Starbucks was closed).  The clerk at the 7-11 tried to share his hot spot but it didn’t work.  Remember, there are no pay phones or public access to phones anywhere.  I head to the closest hotel since they have phones and usually a computer for public access (and if all else failed I could get a room for the night).

  • The clerk allowed me to use the front desk phone and I called my son.  At that point there was no easy solution, so this just became an expensive mistake.  Checked in for the night.

  • Once in the room, I had access to a phone and the ability to charge the iPad and get creative to track down the homeowner.  My daughter used Instagram to contact a mutual friend for Katie’s number to send a text.  While we waited for a reply, we gained access to my texts on the iPad (I NEVER would have figured that out without help) and were able to send a text but could not get my history for the door code.

  • I knew when I sent the text that Katie was most likely asleep, so we were in for the night.  At the same time, my son gained access to my email from an old log in and could send notes to clients to clear my calendar for the next morning.  

  • Katie saw the text when she woke up and called the hotel.  I got the house code and headed home.


So, what were the lessons I learned. 


  1. Technology.  We are so reliant on our phones.  Without them, what is our back up plan? From now on, pen and paper and a few key data points will be recorded sans technology. 

  2. Authentication.  Google required authentication via my phone to log onto email.  Cruel circular loop of frustration.  I am adding an additional authentication source that is not my phone or email going forward.

  3. Teamwork.  In the end, it was a combination of my children, friends, and a helpful desk clerk to find a solution.  Never underestimate the power of the team.

  4. Solutions-Focused.  There were moments where I was frustrated, angry, and tired.  Each time, I tried to refocus on solutions and maintain the perspective that this was a hiccup and not insurmountable.

  5. Heads, shoulders, knees, and toes.  Replace with phone, keys, wallet, and dog.


Looking back, I overcame a funny hurdle.  In the moment, not so much.

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