Last week, I had the privilege of being stuck in an elevator with several other people. It was a fascinating study in human behavior. Going up, we stopped on Floor Three, and a few more folks got on. Then something odd happened. As the doors closed, we started falling. There was screeching and grinding. In about 5-7 seconds, we landed with a crash. Stuck. Everybody was fine. Well…as far as I was concerned.
But people are people and the case study began. Immediately, a few people started crying. A couple of folks started yelling, “Call 911!” Another said, “We need air!” I’m watching all this. Maybe something is wrong with me, but I was not upset or worried. It’s like, Ok, this stinks, someone will come, and we will get out…maybe 30 minutes.” I could see through a space at the bottom of the elevator doors that was about a half-inch wide (we were in between floors). There were people standing out there, I could see their feet. They were asking us if we were ok. They were calling 911. In my mind, it’s all good. But people were yelling “We need air.” There was plenty of air…it was flowing in right through the half-inch gap under the door. Didn’t matter.
It reminded me that most of us are not well-suited for adversity. Most of us are not well-suited for uncertainty. Most of us aren’t good at being decisive. When an elevator falls, we are exposed.
So what happened? After about 20 minutes, the doors were forced open by the Fire Department. A crowd of people greeted us – phones out – taking pictures and videos. The Firemen helped each one of us climb down about four feet to floor level. And we proceeded out into the beautiful Florida evening, each of us with a story to tell.