Archive for October, 2013

Trapped in an elevator…and it could have been worse!

October 20, 2013

Greg, my fiancé and I made a trip to San Francisco to see my Uncle Alan, Aunt Barbara, my cousins, and some friends. We checked into the Marriott Hotel downtown and decided to walk around for an hour before we were going to meet everyone for dinner. We got on the elevator on the twentieth floor and pushed the button for the lobby. The elevator started down and then stopped. All the lighted buttons went dark and the elevator was eerily silent. For the first time I looked, really looked at the other people who were in the elevator with us. Two young children and a woman about my age. The little boy started pushing buttons and the older woman pulled his hands away.

It took us about 20 seconds to realize that we were stuck in the elevator. Greg checked his phone and saw that he had the number of the front desk. He called the manager and explained that we were stuck in the elevator. The manager said he would contact the Otis elevator technician and let us know when we would be getting out of the elevator. We were in between the seventeenth and eighteenth floors.

Our elevator-mates were 7 and 2 year old siblings from Toronto and their babysitter, a native from Taiwan and 22 year resident of San Francisco. After receiving a call from the babysitter, the children’s mother joined the manager at the front desk. Greg was told that the only certified Otis elevator technician in the city of San Francisco was already fixing two elevators and would get to the Marriott when he could. The babysitter and I thought we should call 911 but were overruled.

For the next two hours Greg, the babysitter, and I sang songs, taught the 7 year old how to play patty-cake, had thumb wars, played Simon Says then games on my iPhone, took pictures, ate snacks (the babysitter was very well prepared for this emergency) and learned some Chinese.

 After 90 minutes in the elevator the 7 year old announced that she needed to use the washroom. We high-fived because I needed to “use the washroom” too. We made Greg call the manager and tell him that there would be an emergency in the elevator if we didn’t get out soon. It was another 30 minutes before Greg got a call and we understood that we were going to be rescued. We felt the elevator being moved up manually and saw the doors being pried open. The kids ran into their mother’s arms and Greg and I walked up two flights of stairs to our room.

Now that I am safely out of the elevator I have been able to think about the experience. At the time I was crazed but acted like it was an adventure because we didn’t want to scare the children. (See the photos where we actually look happy!) Although we didn’t know if we might plummet to our deaths (I have since been told that this only happens in the movies, it doesn’t happen in real life) or how long we would be in the elevator, I am grateful that we were stuck with two delightful children and their babysitter. What if the elevator had been full with eight large men who had been drinking who were going to a sports event (we rode with them in an elevator the next day), someone who had gas or really had to go to the bathroom, a crying baby, well, you get the idea. We were lucky! The electricity stayed on and we had room to sit down. Our phones worked and the technician did show up. And yes, we did get a free night at the Marriott and we made it to dinner with my relatives 45 minutes late. Greg assures me that we will never get stuck in an elevator again…I can assure you that if there is a next time I am calling 911!

So, my blog post today is about perspective and preparation. Our experience could have been worse but here is the learning for me. The next time I get in an elevator I will make sure I have gone to the bathroom, have a bottle of water and snacks, and I will check out the people who may become my new best friends!ImageImageImageImage





A heartfelt response to “Radical Survivor”

October 19, 2013

I began reading right there beside the fire, and kept reading until I finished. Nancy is so staggeringly honest. This story is incredibly poignant, sad, funny, and yes, hopeful. It really softened my heart and made tender my spirit. I cannot begin to imagine her pain but because her writing is so descriptive, I did feel her pain while I read. The title is so perfectly apt.