The Fateful Ice cream Cone

by Nancy Y Fillip

This story is part of our 'Travelling with Kids' series, featuring tales from luxury hotel guests which were sent in for our recent travel writing competition.


It was the final day of our trip to Martha’s Vineyard. After checking out of the condo, we had three hours to kill before boarding the ferry that would take us back to the mainland.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to entertain three children waiting for the ferry. There was no money left for shopping and no beach to just hang. We had consumed a large breakfast so I assumed no one was hungry. However, who can pass up ice cream?

After wandering by an ice cream stand the kids began begging. Checking my pockets I had just enough money for four cones. The perky clerk scooped up our cones. Off we went. Not more than 30 seconds later, my youngest drops her cone face down onto the sandy sidewalk. Of course I had to go back and replace it! The clerk tells me that it will cost a dollar. Not having another dollar, I tell my oldest child she needs to jog back to the car to get some money. Begrudgingly she shuffles off.

After waiting several minutes, she comes back – with no dollar. “Where’s the dollar? I ask.” “I accidentally locked the keys in the car,” she tells me. Hurrying the kids back to the car, sure enough, there were the keys on the front seat. My eye catches something black sticking out of the keyhole. “What is that?” I ask. My daughter explains that she tried to unlock the door using her barrette which broke off the in the lock.

Unbelievable!!! I look around to see who can help us. My eyes are on my watch as the time is quickly approaching to board the ferry. To my left were some men doing landscaping.

Running over there I told one of the guys that my daughter had locked the keys in the car. Did he have any tools that might be able to help us open the door? He looked at me strangely and shook his head indicating he spoke no English. Panic! Less than 30 minutes to ferry time. I desperately look around and notice these tiny metal stakes in the ground waving white flags. They must have marked off the area where the landscaping was to occur.

As I grab one and run to the car, the alarmed landscaper must have thought I was stealing it. He started running after me! I am doing crazy hand gestures and trying to tell him in broken English what I was doing. Actually I was yelling because for some stupid reason, I seem to think that if someone does not speak English, speaking LOUDER will help.

Finally he caught on and grabbed the wire stake. He began shoving it down through the small open crack in the window. Click! The door was unlocked. I threw the kids into the car and miraculously we made it to the ferry, the last boarder. That fateful ice cream cone almost stranded us on the island. Kids and the unexpected; a recipe for travel disaster.

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