Keys and key tags with The Boarding House phone number and a note to return them for a $100 reward have been left all over the region. When people find them, they call the store to return the keys and claim the reward not knowing it’s a prank.
MEDICINE HAT, AB – The phone at The Boarding House has been ringing off the hook for more than a week but it’s not a happy time for the store’s owner, management and staff. “The phone calls are pretty much non-stop some days,” says owner Scott Dent The lifestyle skateboard, snowboard and ski shop is the victim of a prank popularized on the social media app TikTok.
“We just started getting flooded with phone calls about this key situation and I know that our store has specific keys that are numbered for our store. So it was very peculiar as to where this came from,” says Dent.
Keys and key tags been found at places like Iron Horse Energy Services, Canadian Tire, Husky, and a local dance studio, says Dent. Some have even been found in Dunmore and Elkwater.
“So as of today we’ve received about 65 phone calls on that. Some people are very concerned about bringing the key back to us and it’s just created a huge hassle for our business. It’s very frustrating for us to have to answer the phone all day and to explain to people when we have better things we can do like run the business.” He says people are also messaging them about the keys on social media, so they have to take time to respond to all of those people as well.
“We figure there’s over a hundred keys out there. The time and energy to do something like this … it would take a lot,” he says, adding the person responsible has even gone to the effort and cost of laminating the key tags.
Dent says police have been contacted and there is an ongoing investigation. He asks anyone with information to call the store at 403-529-5420 or the Medicine Hat Police Service at 403-529-8481.