Sunday, February 1, 2015

Stuck in an elevator!

“What is this, a clown car?”, one of New York's finest exclaimed as 16 of us were helped out of the elevator. So began our first morning of our weekend excursion to the Big Apple.
We should have known something was amiss when it took 10 minutes for an elevator to stop on our floor. When the doors finally opened, it was a packed car but we tucked ourselves in. Next stop, the doors opened and though my instinct was to say no room, our traveling companion was there and of course we shifted to make room as I beckoned her into the elevator. Next stop was the Lounge level where several passengers were planning on getting off to grab breakfast.
But as we descended to 12, there was an ominous jolt, a dead stop and then nothing. The doors didn't open. There was a wave of nervous laughter, and people shifting in the car and then it sank in. We were stuck. With 16 people dressed for the cold New York weather sandwiched in a very small space. The man next to me hit the emergency intercom button and after a few seconds, a voice crackled, “yes, hello, are you in trouble?”, and 16 people loudly responded at once, “YES WE ARE STUCK IN THE ELEVATOR!!!”
“Hello, hello, are you okay?”
"Can only one of you respond?” The crackly voice requested. He said they would call the mechanic and let us know how the rescue was proceeding.
Meanwhile, inside the car, the temperature was raising precipitously. To my husband's delight, the voluptuous woman behind him peeled down to her camisole and warned that it would shortly be coming off if we weren't released soon. One analytical young woman, started querying each passenger about their weight, to see if we were over the 3500 pound limit. As one man after another gave her his weight, she got to me, “So how much?”, she asked in a slightly accusatory tone. “There is no way I'm telling you my weight!”, I responded. My husband gallantly chimed in, “there are 16 of us and no one here is over 200 pounds, so that is not the issue ”.
At this point, it had been over ten minutes since we'd heard from our crackly voice friend, so feeling compelled to take charge, I used my smartphone to look up the Marriott's phone number and called the front desk. The man who answered seemed surprised to hear we were stuck and assured me he'd look into it and call me back, as I gave him my cell number. I had to bite my tongue to prevent myself from ranting about his incompetence at not knowing there were 16 people stuck in the elevator!
At this point we started to hear some activity outside our door. Then the front desk called back.
“YES”?, I asked in a querulous tone.
“Uh, m'am, I believe you called the wrong Marriott! I just went and checked and all our elevators are functioning properly.”
“Oops”, I responded sheepishly, “thanks for getting back to me so quickly.”
Of course the whole elevator heard this exchange…so much for me taking charge!
Finally, the doors were pried open, and our welcoming committee of NYC policemen, and firemen (what is it about a young guy in a fireman uniform), ushered us out of the car.
They claimed it was the volume of people that caused the problem, but I didn't buy it. Fortunately no one panicked and all had a sense of humor about it, though if the twenty minutes had stretched to thirty, I'm not sure that would have been the case.
Needless to say, we avoided that elevator for the rest of our stay…and had a wonderful weekend after that!