A family from Surrey, B.C. that lost the keys to their imported Toyota minivan while vacationing in Victoria early June were eventually forced to abandon their vehicle after learning obtaining a replacement key involved shipping their van back to Japan, reports CBC News.

It all went sideways when John Higgens stopped to tie his little boy’s shoe and take a family portrait, sitting on a ledge along the sidewalk they were traveling.

To the best of his recollection, Higgens set his keys on the ledge behind him, smiled for the photo, and walked off with his family.

After stopping for gelato, the realization set in.

“We were wiping our fingers after the gelato and John said, ‘Do you have the keys? Where are the keys?’” said Maria Higgens, John’s wife.

Well-intentioned locals reassured the family they could obtain a replacement key from a local Toyota dealership, and there was nothing to worry about, but in reality, replacing the key for the imported vehicle would prove nearly impossible.

“Everyone said to call the dealer and everything would be okay. We started doing that and that was when, for me, the panic really started to set in,” said John.

As it turns out, the RFID-equipped ignition system installed in the minivan the family recently purchased needs to be brought back to the original dealership it was sold from in Japan in order to pair it with a new set of keys.

For the time being, the family has left a note on their minivan, which is still parked in the hotel parking lot they last parked it in, explaining their predicament and pleading the vehicle not be towed.

It’s not clear where the family intends to travel for their next vacation, but we suspect a tour of Japan could kill two birds with one stone.

(CBC News)