On Saturday evening, I was trapped in an elevator for the second time in my life. If you’re curious, I wrote about the first time in this post.
This time around, it was about 7pm, I had decided I wanted a coffee after dinner. To treat myself, I was going to get a Starbucks. Before leaving my apartment, I debated on whether or not to order my coffee using the app on my phone, so it would be waiting for me when I got down to Starbucks. I made the decision to hold off, just in case something delayed me. That would be a wise decision as I would soon find out.
Earlier in the day, my building was down to one elevator as the other one was apparently out of commission. As I waited for the elevator on my floor to go down, I was surprised to see the elevator that was supposedly “broken” stop at my floor, doors open, beckoning me to go in. I paused for a bit but I thought that if the elevator was in service and showed up on my floor, that would be a sign it was all fixed.
I stepped inside, pressed my desired floor, and was looking forward to having a nice coffee soon. The elevator descended eight floors when it suddenly lurched and the brakes were applied very quickly. I was alone in this elevator. It had stopped on the 20th floor. I waited to see if it would continue it’s descent, either in a normal fashion or in a free-fall. A minute of waiting yielded nothing. I wasn’t going to the lobby but I pressed that floor anyways. The button did not light up. None of the floors lit up when I pressed them.
I probably waited another two minutes before I decided this elevator was indeed stuck and nothing I could do inside was going to change that. So, for the second time in my life, I pressed the “help” button inside a stuck elevator. The call was answered after the second ring, quite quickly to my surprise. The person on the other end said hello and I told them I was stuck on the 20th floor. They asked me to press the lobby button for ten seconds. I did so but nothing happened. They then asked me to press the “door open” button for ten seconds as well. Nothing again. At this point they said they’d get back to me in a minute but not before making sure I was ok and not suffering from any immediate problems. I said I was fine.
The call ended and I waited for about a minute. The speaker on the panel came to life again as there was another person on the line. I didn’t know that you could actually call into the elevator and initiate the call from outside. That was interesting to learn. I didn’t know if this person was at the elevator company or downstairs in the lobby. The new person asked for my name, wanted to know if I was still doing ok, and offered to call or text someone on my behalf. I told him my name, said I was doing ok still, and no, I didn’t need him to call/text anyone because I had my phone on me (which had signal).
This new person told me that I was the second person to be stuck in that elevator today (more on that later). A service person (possibly two even) were enroute to the building but they were about 15 to 20 minutes away but once there, they would do everything possibly to get me out right away. After making sure I was ok again, they told me they’d check in with me in about five minutes. They then hung up.
I was left to just wait. Five minutes passed but no new call came. I could hear the other elevator moving up and down next to the one I was trapped in. Five minutes became ten. I checked my phone and it was down to 46%. I decided I probably needed to ration my battery, just in case. I wasn’t going to waste it playing games or being on the Internet. I put my phone on airplane mode so it would have to keep sending out signals, which would save a lot of battery.
Ten minutes became fifteen and nothing was happening. I debated with myself about sitting down but the carpets in these elevators are super gross, so I kept on standing. At the twenty minute mark, I swear I heard some sorta banging or some indication that there were people just outside the door, working on something. I didn’t hear any voices however and no one called out to me. Five minutes later the elevator started moving without any warning at all. It went down one floor and stopped at 19.
The doors opened and a nicely dressed couple was about to step into the elevator. I explained to them they probably didn’t want to use this elevator and where I’d been for the last 30 minutes or so. They heeded my advice and all three of us took the stairs down to the lobby. I was expecting to see some repair dudes there but I saw no one.
I still hadn’t gotten my coffee and after being trapped, I really wanted one. Thirty minutes later than I had expected, I was on my way to Starbucks. When I returned to the lobby with my coffee, the offending elevator was sitting with doors open at the lobby, locked out from being used. I still didn’t get any explanation as to why that elevator was allowed to be put into service, trapping two people on the same day. If the elevator isn’t fixed or unreliable, it shouldn’t be allowed to be used. I will ask the strata council or the property manager for an explanation.