Today started out like any other day: up before 6am, on the road to the office for a pre-work workout by 6:15am, breakfast at my desk at 8am. Around 10:30, I decided it would be fun to head down and grab a soda. So, wallet and cell phone in hand, I made my way towards the 12th floor lobby. I pressed ‘down’, and as my vertical shuttle arrived, I entered not knowing what was about to happen.
If you’ve ever been stuck in an elevator, you know exactly what happens next. The lights flicker, the gravitational descent comes to a sickening stop and the gears grind to a halt. The following could be considered the “six things you should do if you get stuck in an elevator”. These are my six, yours might be different:
Take a breath. If you’re claustrophobic at all, being trapped in a stuck elevator can feel like hell. Simply close your eyes, take a deep breath and settle in for what’s next.
Refrain from announcing to the world that you’re stuck. Odds are, building maintenance crews know the elevators are stuck. In my situation, I refrained from immediately picking up the emergency phone and calling for help. I rang my bell, and didn’t pound or scream. Save your energy…who knows how long you’ll be in there.
Send a text. Let your coworkers, loved ones or associates know that you’re okay. Make light of the situation. I asked one of my colleagues if she thought Jimmy Johns could deliver to a stuck elevator.
Do some tai chi. If you’re isolated in an elevator, take a few minutes for yourself. I’m by no means a master martial artist, but the few tai chi moves I do know (mostly improvisation, truth be told), I was able to calm my senses by striking a pose and stretch my muscles. Very relaxing!
Ring Ring Ring. Three short bells should do it to make maintenance workers know that someone is in the elevator. Depending on how tall your elevator shaft is, it may take them a while to get to you, but eventually, they’ll find you. Our building has a standby battery lowering UPS – uninterruptible power supply – installed on each elevator, but only for emergency use only. I didn’t feel like my situation was dire, so I just waited it out.
Pack plenty of patience. I was stuck in my elevator for nearly an hour. There wasn’t much I could do. I missed a few e-mails, was late for a staff meeting, but the power was out in the entire building, so much to my chagrin, the meeting was postponed. Being patient can make a miserable situation tolerable.
All in all, it wasn’t that bad. I can now cross ‘stuck in an elevator’ off my bucket list. Next, ‘surviving a capsized boat’ and ‘defeating a grizzly bear in wrestling’ await to be tackled.
How about you – ever been stuck in an elevator? What did you do to pass the time?