November 13, 2018 4 min read

Imagine being trapped in an elevator all by yourself and having your anxiety tell you to NOT draw attention to yourself...

Here's my story of what happened to me this past weekend - my first experience of California!

I'm on the third floor, headed down to the lobby to make some copies. I get in the elevator, press L and the doors close. Then they open. Then they close again.

Now, my brain had told me to get off the elevator when the doors opened, but I didn't listen - like an idiot.

So, the elevator drops probably 2 feet and then stops. It wasn't one of those sudden drops that puts your gut in your throat, so that didn't worry me - but the elevator was no longer moving. I now knew I was between floors...

I press the 'open doors' button and nothing happens. I press it again. Then again.


I figure the elevator has to be SOMEWHAT on the third floor yet as I didn't drop that far, but I don't know.

So I press the 'call' button to see if I can get an employee to help me. The button doesn't light up. I cannot collect $200 and pass go...

So I call mom! Mom can save me right!?

No answer.

So I text a colleague. Or so... I thought I did.

"Hi, this is Amanda. Can you tell Dawn to pick up her phone? I'm trapped in an elevator."

No answer.

Anxiety is starting to creep in and I begin to pace.

I'm texting and calling mom, letting her know the situation and she's STILL not answering!

I then realize, to my embarrassment, I may have texted the OFFICE of the colleague rather than the actual person!

So I quick shoot out another text, "Wrong number. Apologies."

The stranger replies with a, "No problem! Stuck on an elevator though! Sending good vibes!!"

By this point, I think the only option is to press EVERY BUTTON ON THE ELEVATOR and REPEATEDLY PRESS THE CALL BUTTON.

Still nothing.

So I do what any logical person would do and PRY THE DOORS OPEN!

They only open about a foot before stopping like there's a mechanism preventing idiots like me from doing this AND there's a second set of doors.

Drat. I'm still stuck.

I suck in some air, preparing to shout for help, but all that comes out is a quiet, polite, "Hello? This is awkward. If anyone is on the other side of this door, could you be a dear and get an employee? I'm rather stuck."


Yes. I said, "could you be a dear". Obviously nothing came of this and all the lights on the buttons have turned off due to inactivity or something. So I press the call button and open door button again.

I need to make note that I HAVE noticed the alarm button, but I have yet to press it.

The ONE THING I should have done was press the dang alarm button. The one that makes loud noises to get attention? But I kept thinking, "I'd hate to draw attention to myself..."

That's anxiety speaking. I didn't want to become the talk of the hotel as the girl that got herself stuck in the elevator.

There's a couple things wrong with this train of thought:

  1. I did not "get myself stuck". Not my fault.
  2. I need people to talk about me if I'm to GET OUT.
  3. Shut up, anxiety.

So I do what any sane person would do and I start posting to social media to fake myself into thinking someone knows I'm in here and help will be arriving soon! I was so flustered in there, though, that I couldn't figure out how to post to my stupid STORY rather than my feed. Oops.

Finally, mom calls!

"Hey, where are you?" she says, completely calm.

She obviously hasn't read my texts or listened to her voicemail.

"I've been stuck in an elevator for the past 15 minutes. Please get help!"


Ah. There's the mom panic I was waiting for. That's more like it.

Let's skip the boring stuff about how she went to the lobby to get help and they told me all sorts of stupid stuff to try to get off (that I'd already tried) before they decided to send someone to the roof to reset the elevator.

My mom won't let me hang up the phone while I wait and she's standing by the elevator on the first floor.

She makes some joke about needing to hold on, because it might drop during the reset... THAT'S when I panic. I literally grabbed onto the handles in the elevator.

"You're joking, right??? Tell me you're joking!"

Laughter ensues as she realizes she did NOT break the tension, but actually caused it. Way to go, mom.

Then comes... the counting.

Have you ever seen a horror or thriller film where someone is counting? It always means something bad is about to happen, right?

"I'm watching you now. 5. 6. 7. 8."


My elevator fear is DROPPING. So going up is the worst. Why am I going UP!?

"9. 10."

Doors open.

I FLING MYSELF OUT and promptly scare the crap out of the woman waiting for the elevator.

"Don't get on that one! I've been stuck in it for 30 minutes!"

She just sort of stares at me as I walk past to find the stairs.

So I escaped without pushing the alarm button, but I SHOULD have pushed it. Even the lobby people said I shouldn't have waited, I should have pushed it first.

The urge to cry about it all didn't come until after I was free - but curse anxiety! I could have been free so much sooner!

Have you ever stopped yourself from doing something you SHOULD have done? What was it? Did you overcome it?