So yeah, they (whoever they are) mean it when they say “4 Person Maximum” on the elevator sign.
Today my coworker, Janita, and I were heading to a client planning meeting at their offices with a couple of peeps from one of our partner companies. We had met these two at their offices first to just compare notes and make sure we were all on the same page before we headed to meet with our client, but Janita and I left about five minutes before the other two peeps because we wanted to walk at a bit more leisurely pace.
So Janita and I are walking to the client’s office and make it there about 2 minutes before the meeting was scheduled to start and amazingly enough our peeps from the partner company are walking in the door to the building as we round the corner. We were able to catch up and they let us into the building in time to join them and another person on the lift (bringing us to 5 peeps counting the 2 of us, 2 dudes and 3 gals).
Now let me pause here for a moment to say said client’s office is on the 3rd floor of this building, but for those Americans amongst our readers that means the 4th floor as what we call the 1st floor is called the ground floor here and what we call the 2nd is the 1st. That being said, we prefer to take the elevator after having hiked a mile in 15 minutes.
So back to the story – our three friends quickly pop into the elevator followed by Janita at which point I decide I want to take the stairs as things are looking tight in this small elevator (guessing here but I would say it was 4ft square – not much larger than a phone booth). After telling the group my intentions to take the stairs they insist we can all squeeze into the lift and they are all more than willing to do so.
I step into the lift closing the door behind me (yup, it is so small it doesn’t even have typical elevator doors) and watch as the button is pressed for the 3rd floor. It is at this moment my eyes veer up to the top of the control panel and see the sign, “4 Person Maximum or 300kg.” I knew things were going to be bad.
The lift started to rise. Slowly. Very, slowly. The elevator was the little engine that couldn’t. It tried its darnedest for about 30 seconds before giving up. It managed to lift us about a foot and a half off the ground and sat there – immobile. Our little dumbwaiter had become a prison.
Of course as this was happening we were all saying to each other, “Yeah, four people but we don’t weight 300kg.” Little did they know Drew here had been hitting the peanut butter balls over the holidays and was rockin’ 83kg himself. Even the ladies were at least 60kg each so there was no hope. It was at this point someone made the first of many wisecracks about “no one had better fart.” That is when the laughter started.
We were all strangely loving this – Janita even said she always wanted to be stuck in a lift. I of course saw nothing but laughs at the fact that we all got ourselves stuck in a tight, cramped little shoebox of an elevator. It got hot enough to steam up the mirrors and started to smell a bit like B.O., but thankfully everyone had showered and remembered their deodorant or it would have been really bad.
While trying to escape our pathetic prison we managed to pry the inner doors open hoping we might simply push open the outer door and hop out–and seeing as we were a terrifying two feet off the ground we thought it might work. Of course the outside door was locked shut as part of a safety measure to ensure no one stepped into the shaft when the lift wasn’t there. Funny enough though, while we had the inner doors open we were enlightened to discover we were not the first to find ourselves in this situation. At least three groups before us had been in a similar situation as they had left dates on the cement floor between the ground floor and the first floor. We of course felt obligated to add our info as well.
I also don’t want to forget our client – they were kind enough to try and entertain us through the doors. They brought down a radio and started playing some Brittany Spears, at which point we all lovingly started calling them all sorts of names as even prisoners at Gitmo are not tortured in such a fashion. They also tried to bring us some water but hadn’t considered how they would get it through the door.
So after 40 minutes of sweating, stripping, laughing, and smelling some stank cheese biscuit, we were finally rescued by a mechanic. Amazingly, had it been labelled, the latch to release the outer door was actually within our reach just outside our sight behind a corner.
I share all of this to say, READ THE SIGNS. And respect them, or else you too might find yourself stuck in cramped quarters with some stank cheese.