ARLINGTON — Arlington locksmith Anna Fouts is content to work out of her “office on wheels” — the Ford Escape that currently contains all of her equipment — because she believes that the most important part of her trade is simply lending a hand to others, as her mentor in the field did for her when she got started more than half a dozen years ago.
Still, Fouts’ lack of resources has forced her to send potential customers elsewhere, so she was gratified to be able to expand her service capacity on Feb. 4, when she received a shipment of roughly $5,000 worth of locksmithing equipment from Intuit’s “Small Business Big Wishes” campaign, which selected her as one of their 15 recipients as of December of 2012.
“I’ve had to turn away an average of 10 customers a week, just on car keys alone,” said Fouts, whose new tools will include two separate key cutters, one for code keys and another for high-security keys. “To be honest, if it hadn’t been for this gift, I probably would have had to quit doing this job in January.”
Fouts’ interest in locksmithing was initially inspired by the number of times she locked herself out of her home and office, and wound up calling on the services of 40-year Arlington locksmith Wayne Barber, who then agreed to teach her his trade when he learned that he had lung cancer. Fouts still uses the locksmithing tools she inherited from Barber, who passed away in 2007, and she still measures her own conduct against that of her altruistic mentor in their shared profession.
“I absolutely love to help people in need,” said Fouts, whose 24-hour emergency service calls send her to neighborhoods and backroads throughout Arlington, Marysville and even Stanwood. “I get a lot of elderly folks who have locked themselves out of their houses or cars. A lot of the people I help out are living on fixed incomes, so they’re especially in need of my skills at an affordable price. Wayne gave me the opportunity of a lifetime when he got me into this job, so I do whatever I can to make sure the good that comes around goes around.”
“Anna’s Lock and Key” can be reached by phone at 425-418-8332 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her website at www.annaslockandkey.com includes not only her contact information, but also do-it-yourself solutions for people to solve a number of common lock and key problems on their own, as well as a list of Fouts’ favorite fellow local locksmiths.