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Mysterious Ways: No False Alarm

She was running late when something slowed her down, a warning she couldn’t ignore.

dashboard door ajar warning light
Credit: Thomas Bradford

I turned my keys in the ignition and the car roared to life. Loud music blared from the radio. I glanced in the rearview mirror, shifted into reverse and prepared to back up. Ding, ding, ding! An annoying chime suddenly sounded. I checked the dashboard and saw a blinking green icon: Door Ajar. I opened and shut my door, but the light kept blinking and the chime didn’t stop. I don’t have time for this, I thought.

I was already late, as usual, to pick up my older daughter Kristen from a play-date. A close family friend had stopped by with his son, and we had got to talking as we watched our kids, his son and my 4-year-old daughter Becca, jumping on the trampoline. I didn’t realize how much time had passed.

Then I had looked at my watch. “Shoot,” I blurted out. “Gotta run! Becca, Mommy has to pick up your sister! You coming?”

“I wanna stay with Jason!” she replied.

Becca usually clung to me; it didn’t matter how boring the errand was. Trips to the bank. Doctor’s appointments. But if she wanted, she could stay here with our friends. I wouldn’t have to spend any time strapping her into her car seat. I’ll be quick, I thought.

Now, though, this open door was holding me up. I leaned to my right, opened and closed the passenger-side door. The chime continued. I sighed, jumped out, opened and shut the door behind mine, where Becca’s car seat was. Ding, ding, ding!

Well, this is just great! It could only be the rear passenger door. Of course, the last door I would check. I got out and walked around the back of the car. That’s when my heart nearly stopped.

Becca was slouched behind the bumper, crying. “I changed my mind,” she whimpered. “I want to go with you!”

Shaking, I quickly scooped Becca into my arms and secured her in her car seat. I climbed back behind the wheel, shut the door, and tried to calm my jangled nerves. What if that door hadn’t been ajar? What if I’d backed up?

That’s when I realized. The warning light was now off. No more chime. But I’d never opened and shut the last door.

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