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10-year-old Graham holding keys for Ford truck
BUTTON EXPERT: Our grandson Graham soaked up every word the salesman said as he explained how things worked in our new truck.

Can't figure out new technology? Ask a kid!

Front Porch: Are you smarter than a 10-year-old? Hint: I am not!

Grandpas and grandmas are supposed to impart wisdom to their grandchildren, right? I’m not so sure.

The time came to trade our Purdue-gold pickup for a new model. The model my wife, Carla, and I settled on had lots of technology features that came along for the ride.

The night we picked it up and got our instructions from the salesman, our 10-year-old grandson, Graham, came along. To say he was excited would be an understatement.

“This can’t be our truck, there is too much room back here!” he said — at least five times. Our previous truck had a back seat but not rear doors. From his seat in the “too big” rear, he soaked up every word the salesman said as Carla sat in the driver’s seat and the salesman stood outside her door.

How do we know Graham soaked it up? Because from then on, if I asked Carla what this or that button did, he answered before she could speak! And he was right!   

Key caper

Here’s the capper. The truck has remote-start with the key fob — new to us. The salesman showed Carla how to do it. He pressed some buttons and the engine purred.

A couple of weeks later, when Graham wasn’t around, Carla pushed those buttons, and the truck didn’t start. Hmm … she couldn’t figure it out. I tried pushing buttons and it didn’t start. No surprise there!

Carla read the manual and tried again. It still wouldn’t start. That weekend we went to Lynn, Ind., to help our son, Daniel, and daughter-in-law, Katie, put up Christmas lights at Sickles Christmas Tree Farm. Graham was with us but was off lost in the Christmas trees when Carla asked Daniel to try the remote-start.

He pushed a few buttons and shazam! It started!

“What’s the secret?” Carla asked.

“It has to be locked, and apparently you must press the lock button first, then the remote-start button,” Daniel replied. Car companies know that if you start your vehicle from the house to warm it up and it’s unlocked, someone could steal it.

Just to be sure, Carla tried again, and sure enough, the truck started.

Moment of truth

Carla and I were still talking about how Daniel figured it out as we left the tree farm.

Graham’s ears perked up from the “too big” back seat.

“Oh, you have to lock it first, then start it,” he said.

“We know that now, but how did you know?” I asked.

“That’s what the guy at the Ford place said,” Graham answered. “You have to hit the lock button, then hit the remote-start button twice. It works.”

Wait a minute, I thought.

“How do you know it works?” I asked.

“Because I started it a couple weeks ago,” he said.

“You what?” I replied.

“I started it,” Graham repeated, now somewhat sheepishly.

Oh, that’s great — our 10-year-old grandson started the truck, and we didn’t know it. Heck, we didn’t even know how to do it!

“I just wanted to show Mom how it worked,” he added.

“See, his mom was there, Grandpa, it’s OK,” Carla said.

“So why didn’t you tell us how to start it?” I asked.

“I didn’t know you didn’t know,” Graham answered.

Assuming we knew — that’s probably the only real mistake Graham made!

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