By: Sam Hubble
I find myself disturbed about my safety on campus. I’m not questioning the security of the campus; my fear lies solely in elevator safety.
It sounds odd. I mean, how many times does one ride an elevator in a week?Regardless of how improbable, I found myself trapped in Elevator No. 4 in the Student Union for almost two hours on Sunday with two of my peers.
We were in the building for Residence Hall Council’s Officer Training Day. During a 20-minute break, the three of us decided to descend to the second floor, via stairs, for some coffee. It wasn’t until the return trip to the third floor that my day took a turn for the worst.
As we entered and signaled the elevator to carry us to the third floor, one of my companions, who I will name Thing One, thought it would be funny to jump up and down as we ascended. The steel death trap shook as Thing One ignored our protests and pleas for him to stop. Just as Thing One was telling us about how we wouldn’t get stuck, the elevator came to a halt. I sighed in relief, but I sighed too soon. The elevator suddenly dropped a few feet. We all just looked at each other, wide-eyed.
After a moment, we laughed in a relief-inspired “that was close” sort of fashion and waited for the doors to open, but they didn’t. I pushed the “Door Open” button several times, but it was in vain. We were stuck
We pushed a red “Call” button, but nothing happened. Later we found out that that wasn’t the right button. We pulled out our cell phones to attempt to contact others who we knew were currently in the building, but poor reception prevented us from doing so.
Thing One watched his cell phone until he caught enough bars to attempt a phone call to UAPD. Our first attempt failed. Our second attempt was successful. We located the elevator number, which was not in plain sight by any meaning of the word. They told us they would try to contact the elevator company and to call back if we started moving at all. Now, all we had to do was wait.
We all sat on the floor. My other companion was panicked, so I attempted to comfort her. Thing One laughed in disbelief and started playing music on his iPhone. My emotions were somewhere between the two. I was calm, I laughed at the ridiculousness of our situation, but on the other hand, I was angry at Thing One. I would swing freely between those two emotions until help would arrive.
While we sat, I looked around the elevator. That’s when I saw it. The actual help button is black and sits maybe a foot off the floor, thus easily missed. We pushed it, relieved that we didn’t have to rely on the uncertainty of our cell phones as the only means of communication between UAPD and ourselves. One problem: as the speaker crackled to life and as we tried to respond to the greeting from the UAPD operator, we found that she couldn’t hear us.
Fantastic, isn’t it? The only safety measure inside the elevator to help those who need it doesn’t even work! What if we didn’t have cell phones on us? What if we didn’t have the number for UAPD? What if our situation was worse than it was? What if we couldn’t reach our phones because Dr. Octopus had us in his iron grip and was tickling us to death? There are a lot of possible hypotheticals in this scenario, but they would each end the same: there would’ve been no one to help us.
Luckily, what little reception we could find paid off. The doors opened after the elevator was lowered to the first floor and we were free.
I learned a lot from this misadventure: Always use the stairs and never enter a steel death trap with Thing One. Most importantly, never ever try to ride any Student Union elevators on a cloudy day, because the only one who will be able to hear your screams is you.