The last few days have been quite an adventure! I was at a newspaper conference on Friday and Saturday in Boston.
Due to winter storm Nemo (seriously? They named it after a clown fish???) all the public transportation closed mid-afternoon Friday, as did all the roads, so the city emptied out. We were lucky to be staying in a big hotel that had an in-lobby restaurant and a pub/restaurant, so we were never without food. The staff stayed in the hotel through the weekend so they could keep serving. But they started running out of food by Saturday night because they couldn’t get any deliveries!
Anyway, the weekend was terrific in a lot of ways and I already have several posts and a couple newsletters half-written to share everything with you. For tonight I’ll focus on one thing. One small thing. In fact, one five-foot by five-foot box.
The elevator began to descend as she and I exchanged pleasantries. And then, as the floor number clicked to “8″ above the door, the floor fell out from beneath us. My stomach shot up into my throat.
The next thing I know, the elevator slammed to a stop and the counter above the door read “6″. It didn’t help that the elevator hung in space for at least 30 seconds before it started moving again. Not that I was thrilled to be in motion, either.
The door opened at the next floor and the other woman and I both got out and transferred to a different elevator. I think she was even more scared than I was. I would have switched to the stairs, but I’d already encountered a locked stairwell door earlier in the day, so I didn’t want to repeat that when I was already shaking all over.
Once in the lobby, I went to the registration desk to tell them what happened. I wasn’t there to yell or complain. I was there to tell them they had a serious problem with an elevator.
At registration, there was a line six people deep. I went to the concierge desk, where there was a line three people deep. So I got in line.
And here’s where my big realization comes in – I like to be polite and considerate. I don’t like to make a nuisance of myself. But this was a situation in which it would have been entirely appropriate to jump ahead of the line and say, “You need to deal with this right now!”
Who knows how many other people might have ridden in that elevator during the five minutes I waited in line? What if in my quest to not upset the order of things, someone had gotten seriously hurt in that elevator?
Would I do it differently if it happened again today? Yes. I would be kind but firm: there is a problem and I need the concierge’s attention right now. Sometimes cutting the line is not rude.
I noticed that elevator remained dark and out of order for the rest of the weekend.
Today’s miracle: Even though it scared the bejeezus out of me in the moment, I learned a valuable lesson about speaking up and being heard. And I am super grateful that no one got hurt!