Adventures in Elevators

Following are two completely different experiences I had while riding the elevator.

Going Up?

Any time we travel to Atlantic City, I spend a lot of time riding the elevators. If I happen ride with a group of people, they fall into two categories, there is the ride packed with bodies, no small talk, and no eye contact. Or, there are the 20 second chit-chatters, saying things like,

“Going up?”

“Yes.”

“Me too!”

“Having fun?”

“Yes.”

“Me too!”

Occasionally, though, there are stand out moments. Once, I found myself boarding with a bellhop.

“Going up?”

“Yes.”

“Me too.”

He looked a bit frazzled. His hair was wet with sweat, and his face looked tired, so I asked him how he was doing.

He replied with the generic, “Fine. How are you?” and I returned the pleasantry.

Then, a beat later, he blurted out, “I am about this far (holds up finger and thumb an inch apart) from making a major life change.

At my surprised, “Oh! What’s that?” He answered, “Quit my job. I don’t have a plan. Just quit.”

The only thing my startled brain could even think to say to something like that was, “Well–okay! You should follow your dreams.”

He said, “Thank you!” and the elevator doors opened, ending our brief moment.

I walked out of the elevator completely stressed out; Did I say the right thing?

This man took a leap of faith and confided in a complete stranger and all I could give him with the trite, pat answer of “Follow Your Dreams?!?”

I can’t say I didn’t mean it, I did. Life is so short, no one should spend it being unhappy, and he looked so very unhappy.

I don’t believe in coincidence. I think things like that are divine appointments, and I really hope I didn’t louse it up.

Lesson Learned: ALWAYS be prepared to encourage someone.

~

Trapped

There are six elevators in the tower of the hotel that I normally stay in. Three on the left and three on the right.

One day, the elevator in the middle on the right side was broken. It wouldn’t stop at any of the floors, it would only take you to the lobby.

I was first alerted to the problem when waiting my turn and the doors opened. A group of about six women in their 50’s with their suitcases, swimming gear, and beach hats frantically asked “WHAT FLOOR IS THIS?”

I was startled, but replied, “The lobby.”

“It’s happening again!” they cried. “We can’t get off this elevator! We’ve been to the lobby six times now! It won’t stop on our floor! It won’t stop!!”

I could see their stressed out faces as the doors closed again.

Silence.

“That was frightening!” I thought as I crossed to the left side to get on another, unbroken elevator.

The next day, I needed to meet my Aunt in her room. I was on a separate floor, and a bit distracted, so I got on the elevator on the right side, in the middle.

The doors closed, and I pressed 33.

The elevator flew down to the lobby and opened. No one was there to board. So the doors closed again.

“Hmmm.” I thought.

33.

The elevator flew past 33, came to a rest, and the doors did not open. Then we flew back down to the lobby again.

I won’t say I was panicking, but I did pick out a corner to sleep in, if it came to that.

33.

Same result.

This time on the way back to the lobby, I pressed “STOP” when it got close to the third floor- the floor with the restaurants. The doors did not open. I started planning which corner would be my ‘bathroom corner.’

Just like in the movies, I found the “OPEN DOORS” button and prayed I wasn’t in between floors.

I wasn’t. I had timed it almost perfectly, and only had to take a small step up into the floor I needed.

I waited until the doors closed again (no doubt to trap some other poor person) and pressed the Up button.

The middle elevator on the right opened. I waited for it to close, and pressed Up again.

The middle elevator on the right opened. Apparently, it’s reputation had spread, and no one was getting on it, making it the default elevator to open.

Lesson Learned: Twenty minutes and one narrow escape later, I took the stairs.

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