As I got on the elevator to go to my doctor’s appointment, I saw an elderly lady with a walker enter the lobby and head towards me. She was moving kind of slow so I did what any sensitive person would do; I pretended I didn’t see her and pushed the button. I know, I know, it was a little creepy, but my doctor doesn’t validate. I was in a hurry, and she could catch the other elevator.
Unfortunately, between the second and third floors my elevator suddenly stopped- it was stuck. I thought I heard the old woman’s laughter drifting up from the lobby.
I was by myself and did what any normal person would do. I started pounding every button and when that didn’t work, I pounded the walls. I then realized there was a telephone and managed to talk to the Assistant Manager of Operations and Maintenance, Carl. Carl told me he was on it and the repairman would get here in approximately two hours and ten minutes.
“Two hours and ten minutes!” I exclaimed.
Carl explained that the repairman assigned to this elevator lived about 90 miles away. I asked if they had a backup and Carl replied that the repairman did train a backup, but it was his neighbor who also lived 90 miles away.
At this point I thought I knew what was going on. I was on one of those new hidden camera TV shows. The “fun” kind - where people are totally humiliated and put in danger. Unfortunately, Carl had no idea what I was talking about.
I then decided to play the ‘senior card.’ I explained in a frail voice that I was getting up in years and they had to get me out immediately.
Carl said he was sorry. “Maybe next time you should bring someone in the elevator with you.”
“What good would that do?” I replied. “Unless the person I brought in with me was a doctor.” I then asked to speak to Carl’s boss.
Carl responded that he was the boss.
“But your title is assistant,” I said.
“I know,” Carl replied sadly. “If you’ve got a couple of hours I’ll tell you about it.”
Well obviously I had a couple of hours but I didn’t want to spend it talking about Carl’s vocational problems. “How could this happen in a medical building?” I asked. “I could be sick right now.”
Sensing there might be a lawsuit brewing, Carl tried to shift the blame onto me by saying accusatorily, “Well, you know, you did get on the older elevator.”
“How did I know it was the older elevator? Was it playing Perry Como music?” I asked.
“Who’s Perry Como?” Carl asked back.
For some reason I then felt compelled to defend this older elevator...“How do you know old necessarily means bad? Maybe it’s not as strong as it once was but it’s learned from experience. It knows how to pace itself.” I suddenly realized that I was defending an elevator that had broken down and had me trapped.
Carl must have realized that I was cracking up because he said in his calmest Assistant Manager of Operations and Maintenance voice, “Don’t worry, we’ll get you out soon.”
Three hours and twenty minutes later I emerged from the elevator. I, of course, missed my doctor’s appointment and just wanted to get home. It was a terrible experience but at least it was over. The parking lot attendant then told me I owed $14.80.