I have seen so many movies where people get trapped in elevators. They sit in there for hours. They press buttons. They panic. They cause all kinds of problems because they can’t get out of the elevator. However, I have been trapped in an elevator more than once when I lived in Romania, and I didn’t do any of those things. We lived up on the 9th floor for a while in a big apartment building, and it seemed just a matter of course for things to break down and go wrong because Communism had seemed to have broken everything in Romania, and they didn’t have the money to fix it, so everyone just had to find a way of coping. Sometimes the electricity would go off, and that would cause the elevator to stop, and sometimes the elevator just stopped, and we didn’t know why.
I would be inside, and I had three kids, so usually my kids were with me. The crazy thing was that the elevator would stop between floors. It was only a minor inconvenience. It was not a catastrophe. We learned a great way to deal with it, and it didn’t slow us down in the least. Sometimes we were on our way up, of course, and sometimes on our way down, and after going a couple of floors, the elevator would just stop, but we weren’t trapped like they show in the movies.
Nine flights of stairs is a long way in the dark, especially when you are pregnant holding a four year old’s hand.
We didn’t just sit there waiting for someone to come. We pried the doors open. Usually, the elevator was stopped between floors, so we couldn’t just walk out once we got those doors open. We climbed up to the floor that was half way through the elevator. Often my oldest son would climb out first who was knocking on junior high age when we lived in that apartment building. Next, my daughter who was three years younger than he was would climb out, and then I would hand them my little boy who was about four years old at the time. Lastly, I climbed up onto the floor and got out too. Once we were out, we continued on the stairs. I was pregnant when we were living in that apartment building too, and we would continue on our way up the stairs, up or down, whatever way we were going. If the elevator had stopped because the electricity went off, the stair case would be dark, so I was taking those stairs in the dark holding on to my four year old’s hand pregnant. It was quite an experience, but nothing stopped us. We coped no matter what was thrown our way.
We didn’t panic. We didn’t just sit panicking in the elevator for hours. We thought the situation out and figured out how to get out. It became normal to pry those doors open and climb out when the elevator stopped.