The One With The Elevator

Last week was a beast of burdens. Truthfully I think it was that way for everyone. In Girl Scout world, I can testify that no one was sane, or getting enough sleep, or feeling like they were going to survive.

I don’t know how many times we can blame this shit on Mars in Retrograde.

Projects and trainings and real life and deadlines and events. All in one week.

I got the opportunity to go to a Work Smart training on Wednesday night. Do you know about this program? It is PHENOMONEAL. I wish I’d had this knowledge back when. Check out The Wage Project here. We were trained by the founder, Evelyn Murphy. She was amazing. GS West invested in three staff members to be trained as facillitators, so that we can actually take this program and offer it to others. I want to take it to USAO immediately, we want to offer it as a professional development for our adult volunteers, there are SO many options for this program.

The training on the program was Wednesday night from 6-8pm. The facilitator training was at 8am the next morning at Council. I tell you this to set up the day.

Training at 8am that lead directly into our monthly All Staff meeting. I was late to All Staff because I took Evelyn back to the airport. It was at this meeting that I was awarded the EPIC award for working with Empathy Productivity Integrity and Curiosity. It was such a surprise and so sweet and nice and I didn’t even have a minute to thank people or bask in the honor because a few of us had to leave and drive downtown for an awards luncheon. GSWEST was receiving an award from OK Ethics for being a community agency that stands for and works with ethics. Or something like that. Several of the staff were asked to join as a recognition and I was one of them. I also got to invite one of my volunteers to join us. We drove downtown and as usual were running late so we dropped Shannon (the CEO) off at the door of the Chase Tower and we drove around looking for parking. We finally found a space and got inside and into the elevator with two other people and the doors closed. Buttons were pushed for the 34th floor to the Petroleum Club and we all did the thing you do in elevators. We got quiet and we looked up.

Then the giant lurch happened. Like airplane turbulence but almost worse.

And then nothing.

No movement.

We still had lights. We still had cell service. But we were not moving.

The woman in the elevator went right into panic mode in her most outside voice.


There was a guy, Bobby, also in with the three of us from GS Staff.

I don’t know if I’ve always been good in a crisis, or if there have just been so many in these last five to ten years that I have just become aware that it’s a skill, but I went into that mode. Super calm, cool and collected. I opened the little emergency phone and pushed the button and explained to the voice in the box that we were stuck, 5 of us total, no one was hurt but we were not going anywhere.

She promised to call the technicians and be back in touch.

So then we waited. We waited. And we continued to wait.

The man and woman knew each other and were only talking to each other at first. I kicked off my shoes (I’d worn heels because we were going to a fancy lunch that had sauce on the menu) and sat down. I didnt care that my dress was on the floor. I opened my purse and gave out mints to everyone. We all texted the people we were supposed to meet, and began our social media coverage as well. My friend Phil gave us our hashtag:  #elevatapocolypse2014 and that was awesome. We were so thankful that we had service. That would’ve made it so much worse. Poor Terree C. didn’t go to the bathroom before we left and it was the worst for her.

Conversations began around us all.

We spoke of Girl Scout cookies and our current political system and education system and the Common Core. Cyndi told them she was running for the House seat and that was some awesome discussion. It was fantastic to see her deliver her points and listen so vigilantly. Turns out the guy? Used to be the Secretary of Energy under our previous governor. He and I had met before somewhere, neither of us could remember, but we had friends in common. Conversations around Listen To Your Mother and girls in Oklahoma and little league and Overboard quotes and life in general filled our time together.

After about an hour I called back to the little voice in the box. She assured me that help was there now the OTIS technician was working on it. When I asked how long he’d been working on it she said, “Can you hang on and I’ll go ask?”

Sure. I’m not going anywhere.

“He’s been working on it for 8 minutes.”

And that’s when the lady started to get louder. She was loud talking about how pissed she was at this building and quite frankly, it did seem pretty shitty that no one was in contact with us, no one was checking on us and NO ONE started to work on the issue until we’d been stuck for an hour.

All of the ladies finally sat down. Bobby did not as he had on immaculate creme colored pants. Sorry Bobby.

More conversation. I passed around the mints and gum a second and third time. Because we were HUNGRY damnit. My hands were starting to get sweaty but I stayed focused. Loud lady was getting louder. Terree got out her gratitude journal and made her daily list. She and I were singing “stuck in an elevator..we can’t go up and we can’t go down” on loop in our heads and laughing about it.

We were in the middle elevator and so you could hear the ones on either side of us going up and down.

“ARE WE MOVING? ARE WE?” she would shout in the little box we were in.

No. No. We’re not moving.

And let me be clear, she wasn’t shouting on purpose. She’s like me. She has a naturally loud voice and with the nerves and the anxiety, it just got worse.

The box was starting to get warm. Really warm at this point.

Bobby called the voice in the box again. Because NO ONE WAS CHECKING ON US. He was pissed. Take down my number and get someone to call me back with updates.

Then the elevator did a big freefall lurch thing again and the lights flickered.


In my head she was this lady:


Things were boarderline panicky then because of the lurching and the yelling and the warmth. It was starting to wear on us that we’d been in there for two hours and damnit no one in the building other than Shannon, our CEO who was still waiting on us seemed to care that this was happening.

Then suddenly, the doors opened.

Terree C just dissipated into thin air and got to the bathroom. Like, seriously. It was some Star Trek shit that she did.

We were taken to the bottom floor, the concourse. There was no one waiting on us. There were no camera crews or representatives from the building saying, “are you ok?”

In fact, there were people in the concourse waiting for the elevator who started to get on and the lady yells NO! NO! NO! WE’VE BEEN STUCK FOR TWO HOURS IN THERE!!!

We hugged. We shook hands. It felt a little like the end of Breakfast Club, these connections were made that were not present before, and likely they would not be active again after.

As we made it up to the ground floor, once again there was NO ONE THERE asking if we were ok, except for our trusty CEO. Bless her for staying. The others had boxed up food for us and taken it back to Council. We laughed and talked all the way back to the office.

Membership department was in the middle of a meeting that I was supposed to be in, and when I returned there was much laughter as the story was retold.

But that’s when I kind of started to feel it. I had the sweaty palms, I was dizzy and had a horrific headache. Ann said that I was really flushed too.

For the most part? We decided that we did the getting stuck in the elevator thing the right way.

There weren’t too many people in it. 5 was the right number.

No one was pregnant. Or stinky. And no one threw up.

We never lost power or cell service.

It could’ve been worse.

My night finally ended after our Moore/Norman volunteer relations dinner so I got home about 8:30ish and I had work to do for LTYM rehearsal that is happening today so I worked on that a bit before collapsing.

Thinking back on it, I’m proud that I have the crisis cool skill set. I have no idea where it came from but I’m glad I have it.

Teachable moments are everywhere. So are connections.

The teachable moment for us was pee before you ride.


I will tell you, when we got outside?

The sky never looked so blue.



One thought on “The One With The Elevator

  1. My mom always told me that the Queen never passes up an opportunity to use the rest room or have a glass of water. I guess now we know why! That second lurch might have done me right in. I am retroactively furious that no one from the building was there to check on you!


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