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Who hasn’t been saved by “The Locksmith” after locking their keys in the car, or forgetting them somewhere in the house?
Armed with his toolbox, Mr. Armando González – best known as “El Cerrajero” – would arrive in a matter of minutes wherever he was needed: homes, cars, stores, schools, etc. There, without much of a word he would focus, sometimes until breaking a sweat, to open the door in question.
One of the spots visited by Sr. González was my own home after my 2 year-old daughter Sofia locked herself in the master bedroom. “Sofia, open the door, turn the lock,” her aunt Mama China and I told her, trying to get her to open the door. “I can’t mom; I’m scared I won’t be able to get out,” she sobbed.
It wasn’t until we had given up, after various attempts to open the door with keys, credit-cards and hairclips, that I decided to visit Señor Cerrajero’s shop along Blvd. Fremont to explain the situation and bring him back to the house. I told him the girl who had locked herself in was barely two, and already somewhat nervous. I immediately noted Señor Cerrajero’s look of concern.
When we got to the house, he began operations to try and get the door open – keys, slides, and other trusted instruments he used as tools. Meanwhile, Sofia kicked at the door and asked if we could now get her out. Sr. González, notably anxious himself, told her yes, that soon we’d get her out, to hold on just a little bit. This helped calm Sofia down for a few seconds, before she burst out again in a desperate wail.
Finally, after trying everything he could, Señor González asked if we could take off the thinnest part of the door frame in order to get it open. I agreed and he was able to pry the door open; to our surprise, Sofia was no longer in sight and for the last few minutes had not made any noise. She had hidden in the closet – the first person to see her was el Señor Cererajero. Sofia then pointed at him, accusingly, “You locked me in, Señor; it was you!” For his part, Señor González calmly defended himself, saying it had been he that had freed her.
Before we took him home, Señor González once again told Sofia he had not locked her in – to the contrary, he had come to the house to get her out, “and by the way, don’t go locking yourself in rooms,” he added while Sofía glared back, still with a hint of distrust.
Along with this story, there are certainly dozens of others who have been saved by el Señor Cerrrajero, those who found themselves kicking, yelling and griping at doors which he would then open with a “click” after slipping in what seemed to be a remolded wire hanger. Ah yes! If it were a more recent model car in question, he would also show up with all the appropriate tools.
Today, March 11th, Señor González’s family and friends bade their final farewell to the infamous Señor Cerrajero, about whom just about all of us have our own story, perhaps without ever having known his name.
Rest in peace.