February 4, 2015 // Uncategorized

Stuck in an elevator

My husband got stuck in an elevator last week. He had flown home, cross-country, after a long business trip and was ascending in the elevator to reach the sixth floor of the parking garage at Midway Airport. He had just picked up a sandwich. His bag was thrust over his shoulder, and his thoughts were turning toward home. He was looking forward to finally sitting down and resting after a few intense, litigious days. Suddenly the elevator, which was between the third and fourth floors, lurched forward. Then it stopped. “Come on!” David said to himself, “Are you serious?”

David pressed a couple of buttons. Nothing.

He pressed all of the numbers on many buttons. Nothing, again.

David shifted his bags and studied the control panel. He found the emergency button and pressed that firmly several times. After a few moments, he heard a voice.

“Yes, may I help you?” the man on the other side of the intercom nonchalantly asked, as though he were simply at the library circulation desk pointing someone in the direction of non-fiction, self-help books.

“Yes, I’m in the elevator. I’m stuck!” David said.

There was a pause.

“What floor are you on?”

David looked at the light inside. “I think between three and four…” he said.

“Ok, sir. I’ll send maintenance over.”

Figuring this might take awhile, David, a typical guy, hunkered down to enjoy his sandwich. Time passed. Finally he could hear someone outside the elevator. Banging. Knocking. A voice.

“Are you all right in there?”

“Yes, I’m fine!” David shouted back.

“How many of you are there?”

“One!” David answered.


“One!” David shouted louder.

“How many are in there, sir?”

“One! There is one of me!”

“How many are in there?”

“Just me!” yelled David, now starting to laugh.

More banging. More voices. The maintenance folks got busy.

At this point, David made a phone call to me.

“Hi honey. I’m stuck in an elevator,” he told me, “I don’t know when I’ll be out, but my phone is dying. I’ll call you when I’m on my way home.”

It was the weirdest phone call I ever got.

“Wait! What? Don’t hang up!” I said.

“I have to go. My phone is dying.”

Stupidly, I asked, “When will you be home?”

Thankfully, he laughed.

“I will let you know….”

Back in the elevator, David heard banging and commotion, but there was no progress. The elevator did not budge. Every couple minutes, a voice would ask him, “Are you doing okay in there?” “Yes, I’m fine…” David replied each time. Thirty minutes later, the voice on the other side said, “Sir!”

“Yes?” asked David.

“Sir, I’m going to have to call the fire department. I can’t get you out.”



At a point when I would have surely panicked, my husband took it all in stride. If his phone hadn’t died yet, I’m sure he’d have been checking his emails or heading over to iTunes to bide the time.

Long story short, the firemen came. The police came. A crowbar was used to pry open the door just enough for David to climb up and out, tossing his luggage out first and scrambling through an opening that could have left him falling down a three story shaft.  But he was fine. It had been about an hour and a half since his adventure began.

David made some joke. He thanked them. He shook their hands, grabbed his luggage and headed toward the parking. “I’ve got to get home!”

And so he did.

In hearing his story in detail, all sorts of metaphors and ideas shot through my brain: some times in life can be like being stuck in an elevator against your will … in between floors, out of control. Patience is important. We’re dependent on others. And so on…

But the most important realization was way simpler than that, and came to me as I snuggled up next to my husband on the sofa that night. He was still laughing, recounting the details of the day. And I was laughing, almost uncontrollably with each new detail. We were having so much fun. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks — some people think marriage today is outdated and confining. Some might even say it’s like being stuck in an elevator.

Pshaw to that and pshaw to them! If heaven is the goal then life itself is like being stuck in an elevator. Uncontrollable events are going to happen, yes. But how wonderful it is to have someone beside us who makes us laugh and offers a good perspective. What a blessing for us when we find and marry a life long best friend.











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