This past weekend, I walked down to the elevator in our building with my little one, to recycle paper from my office. You see, I'm on a determined weight loss plan: I aim to lose 80% of the paper in my office by year's end. Scanned and shredded if it's important, not scanned if it's not. Recycled in both cases.
Weighed down with 4 bags, and my toddler holding another, we stood there while the elevator made the usual functional noises behind the walls.
But it never came. Instead, we heard a strange grating noise, then voices, and then a loud, gritty buzzer somewhere from within.
Oh no, I thought, not again. The elevator stuck. But what was worse, I realized, is that someone was obviously stuck IN it.
"Quick, let's go, someone is stuck in the elevator. We have to tell the maintenance guys," I told my daughter, and back down the corridor we went, down the four flights of stairs and out of the building. We dropped the bags of paper on the lawn and went inside the main office to send someone to help the poor soul trying to call for help.
We then resumed our recycling activities and refrained from using the elevator for the rest of the day.
* * *
The next morning, I was walking my daughter down the opposite side of the building on our way to school. Down a flight of stairs, just ahead of us, was a lovely older gentleman we'd seen many times before as he took his morning walk, and always greeted. But we had never exchanged names.
"Oh, the elevator's still not working?" he said.
"No, it's still out of order."
"Well, you know what happened yesterday. I was stuck in the elevator for one hour."
I stopped in mid-step.
"That was you ringing the alarm bell?"
"Well, we heard you from the outside, and immediately went down to the office to tell them to send someone right away."
The gentleman nodded appreciatively. He came over to us.
"Why, thank you. What is your name?"
It was the first time he'd asked for my name.