Man unknowingly unlocks someone else’s Tesla with app, drives away

Innovation

The vehicle he unlocked, got into and drove away in was the same colour and make as his own, after all The app had done its job, seemingly.
Tesla Vehicles Export In Shanghai

(Photo by Shen Chunchen/VCG via Getty Images)

VCG via Getty Images

Vancouver’s Rajesh Randev can hardly be condemned for thinking he was getting into his own Tesla last week in a parking lot. The vehicle he unlocked, got into and drove away in was the same colour and make as his own, after all. The app had done its job, seemingly.

But there had actually been two Teslas parked next to each other. The man was in a hurry, too, so he could pick up his kids from school. Off he blasted.

He noticed as he drove, however, that there was a crack in the windshield he hadn’t seen before. He called his wife to ask about the crack and she knew nothing about it.

Then he noticed his charger in a different spot than where he usually kept it.

He got a text ten minutes later that read “Rajesh, are you driving Tesla?” Another text explained that he had taken the wrong Tesla.

Mr. Randev pulled over, got out and saw the wheels on this particular Tesla were different from his own. He then called the texter. Each party was reasonable and together, amicably, they worked it out. Randev was even able to start the vehicle again, pick up his kids and finally meet the man whose car he had unknowingly absconded with.

The vehicle he unlocked, got into and drove away in was the same colour and make as his own. Image: Getty / File image

He could not, however, offer any real explanation for how it happened.

“We were both laughing and I called the police as well,” he told Global News. “The police said they have my statement but they cannot give me a file number because nothing happened but if something does happen to let them know and they will investigate.”

So how did the still-unidentified other driver get Mr. Randev’s number? There was a printed document in the car with his name and number on it, we assume in the glove compartment.

Randev is, as of this writing, in contact with Tesla, sending them both emails and a video, but the emails are bouncing back. Full mailbox.

“I was surprised how I was able to drive someone else’s car, by mistake, for an hour-and-a-half while his car was in his hand,” Randev told Global News. “My family was shocked.”

But before we chuckle at Mr. Randev’s folly, let me disclose that the phenomenon of entering another human’s vehicle is quite common. There are no Google-able statistics readily available, but I’ll not soon forget the time I came out of a grocery store one early morning in Brooklyn, got into what I thought was a brand new press sedan and tried to start ‘er up. I had three thoughts in succession.

Why does it smell like cigarettes? Why is there a bunch of mail piled up above the driver visor? Why won’t it start?

The light bulb went off and I was out of that car “quicker than a cat can wink its eye, Billy Boy.” But had I been able to start and drive, I probably would have.

That was just the first time. I have also opened doors to cars that turned out to have people in them and I bet some of you have, too. None got angry, fortunately. I just smiled, apologized profusely and on my way, weathering some very puzzled looks.

This story was first published on forbes.com.

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