What Being Stuck In An Elevator Has Taught Me
If you’re a little bit like me, you’ve watched a few movies where out of nowhere someone gets stuck in an elevator. In those movies, its usually a group of people, who don’t know each other, but who has to figure out what to do with their time as they’re waiting for a rescue team to save the day.
Contrary to those movies, no one else was with me two weeks ago when I got stuck in an elevator. I, however, still had the opportunity to be rescued by an awesome team of firefighters.
In this article, I dive into my experience because, first, I want to make you laugh. Second, because I want to help you think or rethink about your emotional route when you’re faced with unexpected (or even expected) situations.
You are welcome to use some of my strategies, but more importantly, I want you to put yourself into my shoes for what I will soon explain and envision your reactions and behavior. By doing so, it will provide you with yes an imaginative scenario, but it will also give you new perspectives and/or ideas for the moment you’ll encounter your unexpected situation.
Let’s get to it!!!
The choices we make
For me, it all started by NOT choosing to take the stairs on a sunny Thursday morning. Later that day, I was heading out of town for a track meet and I wanted to save my legs — for real.
This small decision which, on any other day, would have not mattered much mattered a lot on that Thursday morning.
To explain a little bit the type of person I am, I’ll let you in on what you’ll probably see me do if you ever meet me in a public place. I’m one of those who climbs two, three stairs at the time, and/or jump on and off those steps just to see how fast I can go up and down the stairs. In my world, stairs are fascinating and a great way to test yourself. But on race day or a few days prior a race though, I am the total opposite. I take my sweet time. I climb one step at the time and if I can avoid all steps or stairs I do. I’m not risking anything that can jeopardize these legs and/or my performances.
That day however, I hesitated — half a second to a second — I silently debated, stairs or elevator. I chose the elevator and walked toward it. From the look of it, the elevator worked fine as people walked out of it a few times by the time I had reached it.
When I got in, I did not have much. My most precious item, bubbles I had purchased for our soon to be 4 years old son — no cell phone.
I pressed the floor I wanted to go on, but then a funny thing occurred. I appeared to have went up one or two floors until the elevator seemed to return to the first floor. Puzzled, I re-pressed the button yet the elevator was not moving. I then pressed the emergency bell — nothing. I pressed the emergency phone — again, nothing.
I was STUCK!!! I started laughing and told myself, geez I’m stuck in an elevator. I laughed again, but this time, I thought out loud “And I chose not to take the stairs”…LOL.
The mindset we’re in
On a daily basis, I am a very upbeat and happy person. I laugh very easily at my own mistakes and funny moments and this specific moment was no different.
I realized two things — 1) I have to make some noise so someone can get me out of here and 2) I better not exhaust myself too much while making all that noise because I have an out of town track meet I am going to. These were my first thoughts.
So I calculatedly began knocking on the elevator doors, with my fist at first. I chose to make my voice a few pitch higher so if someone was near they would be able to hear me better.
I alternated between hitting my fist on the door, using my foot, saying HELP can someone hear me; I’m stuck in the elevator. I did that specific sequence a few times in arrow. Then, I realized, I still had the precious bubbles in my hands. I sat on the elevator floor, opened the bubbles’ container and started to do some bubbles. As I looked at each bubble’s size and/or counted them, it made me laugh even more. It made me think differently. At that moment, I wanted to have fun. I knew this was the best thing I could do while waiting for the emergency to come and get me.
I decided to include doing some bubbles into my sequence of actions. As I raised my voice to ask for help, I would blow a few bubbles in between my breathing. As I knocked on the elevator door, I would take a break and blow even more bubbles. All of this lasted approximatively 15 to 20 minutes, until a lady and her dog heard me and called the emergency team.
When she asked if I was ok, I replied “Yes, I’m doing bubbles.”
The firefighters were there fairly rapidly. I had moved myself away from the door and sat in a back corner with my bubbles. I kept doing what has then became my new reality — blowing bubbles.
When the rescue team arrived, they asked if others were with me and how I was holding on. I happily said I was doing fantastic. I do not know the exact timeframe but they spent a little while attempting to open the doors. It was not working. They mentioned the elevator was stuck in between two floors and they would need to get me out from the elevator’s ceiling.
Eventually, the ceiling opened and a firefighter had put his head down to evaluate the scene and ask if all was ok. To his surprise (I know this because of his facial expression, LOL), he looked at me and said: “You’re doing bubbles?” I enthusiastically said “YES, it’s super fun.” He did not know what to say. The next thing you know, we both busted laughing.
With the ladder that was provided, I energetically climbed on the elevator’s ceiling, smiled, and thanked all the firefighters for their work and patience in getting me out. They were all intrigued with my bubbles and mentioned they knew I would be having a great end of my day.
As I departed the scene smiling, in my heart, I also knew they would have a blast reciting what they saw that day — a chic sitting on the elevator floor blowing bubbles while waiting to be helped.
You and I know they don’t see that everyday, LOL.
I will end with repeating why I chose to write this article. As I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, my initial goal was to make you laugh which I know I succeeded.
At the same time, I wanted you to know, there’re going to be times where your emotions, if not attentive to them, are going to overtake you. They can make you feel all type of ways. However, there’re always certain actions you can do to diffuse the intensity of your emotions which in return will help decrease the intensity of your situation.
I’m conscious it may not work every single time, but I do know, if you give it a shot and attempt to make yourself laugh or do something that is totally out of the norm in that intense situation, you may just end up like I did with my elevator story — having a blast.
I chose humor and peace of mind because my ultimate goal was that I had to drive three hours to go run and I was not about to miss my races nor to compete poorly. My mind chose an action that was definitely NOT the norm.
My creativity saved my day and made those firefighters laugh for the rest of their shift which tells me, you can do the same with your unexpected situation.
Let your mind be creative — you’ll see, it can really help you have a different type of day.