On the subway and buses there is an animated public service announcement in case you get stuck in an elevator.
In the crudely drawn cartoon, an old man and a young woman and her daughter are stuck in the elevator. They freak out, cry, run in circles in the elevator and try to pry the door open. This, instructs the message, is not the right reaction.
The scenario happens again, but this time they calmly use the phone in the lift and call for help. Soon mechanics come and pry the doors open, where the girl is playing happily with a toy car on the floor and everyone is smiling.
That PSA went through my head when I got stuck in the elevator on my way to work this morning.
I got into the lift and soon after the doors shut, the elevator stopped. A middle-aged man was with me and we tried pressing other buttons but the elevator would not budge. So I pressed the help button a few times and a man's voice came on asking what was wrong.
"The elevator is broken!" The man next to me explained.
"OK, hold on we're getting help," the voice said. "Please don't worry."
A few minutes went by -- probably just two or three and the older man pressed the button again.
"We're stuck here!" he said.
Again the voice reassured him that help was on the way.
It was kind of strange, standing in a box-like compartment with a stranger and not having much to say to them. I texted people at work on my cell phone to explain the situation I was in and that I would probably be late for work.
"Is there anything I can do?" my colleague asked.
I texted back that unless she could fix an elevator there wasn't much more she or anyone else could do.
After a few minutes there was a bit of rumbling and movement and soon enough, the door was pried open.
"Anyone else in there?" a voice asked.
"No," replied the man next to me after we got off. "Everyone is out."
I said "thank you" after that to let them know we appreciated being freed.
It turns out many elevators in my building have been out of order in the last few days. Is it the weather? Or have their warranties expired at the same time?