8.21.2007

The elevator will make you JUMP - JUMP

Sorry about the Kris Kross reference. They were HUGE back in the day.

But there is something about elevators that makes you want to jump. Rumor has it, that if you jump just before an elevator descends, you get a weightless feeling. My big brother and I used to jump in elevators all the time, and nothing ever went wrong - except for an occasional tingling sensation in our nether regions(especially one those fast elevators like the one in the Space Needle).

Did you know that if five people jump simultaneously in the elevator connecting the Coeur d'Alene Resort to its parking garage, the elevator will temporarily accelerate causing built in safety mechanisms to jam the lift into place to prevent possible multi-story free fall?

Yeah. I didn't know that either. How was I to know? I've been jumping in elevators all my life and (like I said before) nothing bad ever happened. Tommy, Nate, Steve, Drew, and I jumped in the elevator in Boise's Hoff Building without consequence.

Yet, this last spring, getting stuck in an elevator was just the first step in a night when nothing could go right. Our friend Chase was moving to California the next day, so Bekah and I wanted to treat him out for dessert at the resort. No farewell party is worth anything without friends so, Rachie and AJ came with. We parked on the fourth level of the garage despite seeing plenty of parking available on the first and second levels. Once in the elevator, Chase and jumped a couple of times before someone (I don't remember who) suggested all of us jump at the same time.

Like I mentioned earlier, the resort's elevator did not like that proposal - it ground to a halt partway between the second and third levels. We did the only sane thing available, we used the emergency phone.

A woman with an Indian (possibly Pakistani) accent answered "Hai lowe?"

"Hi, we're stuck in the elevator." Unbeknownst to us, the lady who answered the phone worked in a call center in a foreign land and had no idea where our elevator was located.

"Hoh kae." She said. "Is that in the Kuh... Cure... Coower duh... Cure dee..."

"Core duh Lane." We finished for her.

"Yes, I zee. I will sent some un to halp you."

Shortly there after, Rachie began to mention her need to use the restroom. Chase, AJ, and I (being all guys, and being completely inconsiderate) began imitating the sound of running water. Incidentally, that does not help someone who has too pee. Forty-five minutes later, the repair guy showed up. By then, we all had to pee.

Now, before I go further, I must explain that Chase, Rachie, and AJ are all under 18. Bekah and I were under strict instruction to get the kids home by 10pm - after all, it was a school night. We arrived at the resort shortly before 9pm, and we were sure that an hour was enough time to eat a Gooey and return all three kids to their homes. So, at a quarter to ten, we still had yet to eat a gooey and were finally hearing from a repair person. Two of the three kids phoned home to let their parents know they were going to be late.

The repair guy shouted from above us. He told us it would only be a couple of minutes - all he had to do was reset the elevator and we'd be on our way. Up until this time we had lights inside the elevator. After the elevator got reset, we lost the lights. No movement. Ten minutes later, the repair guy returned and tried to reset the elevator again. It still didn't work. He said he'd need to call the elevator company to have one of their mechanics out to assist us. The elevator company was located in Spokane, it was going to be a while.

Chase called his father, a former police officer and some one that I would not want to ever piss off, who said he'd call the resort to see what could be done to get us out faster.

When Chase's dad called back, he relayed the conversation back to me and it went something like this:

"Thank you for calling the Coeur d'Alene Resort. How may I help you?"
"Yes, I'm calling about a problem with your elevators."
"What seems to be the problem."
"Well, the problem is that my son has been trapped in one of your elevators for over an hour in your hotel and I want to know what is being done to get him and his friends out."
"Well, I'm not sure."
"You're not sure?!? Do you know were the repair person is?"
"No."
"Could I please speak with your manager."
"Sir, I am the night manager."
"You're the manager?"
"Yes."
"So, you're telling me that there are five people stuck on one of your elevators. And you, the night manager, have no idea what is going on."
"Well..."
"Answer some questions for me."
"Sir..."
"Do they have water? Are they hungry? Do they have to use the bathroom? Are any of them hurt? Do they have lights?"
"(stammered)"
"Look, you will find your repair personnel. And you will get my son out of that elevator. And I will be down there tomorrow morning to talk to your boss." (click)

Within minutes of that phone call, the lights were restored. The elevator was still stationary, but we had lights.

Finally, at 10:58pm, the elevator lurched, then continued it's decent to the ground floor. Our first destination: the restrooms. We reached Dockside at 11:05pm. Dockside stops serving food at 11:00pm. And the kids were supposed to be home an hour earlier. So, defeated and hungry, we returned to the parking garage.

The repair man was waiting by the elevators. He asked if we jumped in the elevators. We all said no.

"Funny." He said. "Usually the only thing that would make an elevator accelerate into an automatic shut off is people jumping in the elevator."

The next few seconds waiting on the elevator were some of the most awkward few seconds I've ever experienced.

Now, like I said earlier, the elevator was only the beginning of things that went wrong that night. We forgot to get gas before going to the resort, and our gauge was on empty. Bekah was in a hurry to get the kids home, so no time for gas. By the time we reached the intersection of Ramsey and Prairie, our poor car was running on fumes. We stuttered our way into the Holiday gas station and put a few gallons into the vehicle and continued on our way.

Now, I should mention that it was raining and we were driving with one headlight. On a particularly dark patch of road past Albertsons, we heard a loud thump and Bekah slammed on the breaks. We were all wondering what that sound could be when a large black dog limped into the beam of our one good headlight. I opened the door to see if it was injured and the poor thing bolted into the woods, it must be OK. We dropped the first kid off at his house, where we got out to inspect the car. Dang dog cracked our front bumper.

We dropped off the second kid without incident. Then we stopped by Bekah's parents to pick up our son before driving the third kid (who fell asleep in our backseat) home. As we turned back onto Ramsey a pair of headlights rushed up behind us and swerved. Bekah slowed down, paranoid that the driver was drunk. Then some colored lights began flashing on top of that car. Not a drunk, it was a police officer.

"License, registration, and proof of insurance please."
(handed it all over)
"Do you realize that you have a headlight out?"
"Yes, officer."
"What are you all doing out so late?" (still shortly before midnight - not that late)
Boy did Bekah have a story to tell. "Well, first we got stuck in an elevator at the resort for two hours and we didn't get to eat any gooeys which was the only reason we went to the resort then our car almost ran out of gas and we hit a dog. All I'm trying to do is get our students home even though they were supposed to be home almost two hours ago so that I can go home and go to bed." If she had cried she could have gotten an Oscar.

The officer took a look in the back seat and saw the sleeping toddler and teenager. He ran our plates to make sure we weren't "some psycho killer" and then let us go with a fix it ticket.

And to top it all off, when we finally got home, we discovered that the dog pooped in the house.

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