There are some things that seem destined to happen to everyone at least once in their life.
Getting stuck in an elevator seems to be one of them.
Tuesday was the day for me to check that experience off of my list.
Everything started off normally. Our group of 6 girls staying in our apartment all piled into the elevator, prepared to take the ride up many floors. Once the last person squeezed in, the doors closed, and someone pressed the button for our floor.
After a couple seconds, I realized we weren’t moving. Someone went to the push the button for our floor again, only to see the lights behind the buttons had gone out. And the alarm button was out as well. We were stuck. Six girls. One tiny elevator. We were trapped.
At first the situation was kind of funny. Were we really stuck in a tiny elevator with six people? It was amusing–something that happens to everyone eventually.
But soon we became a little more concerned. How were we supposed to get out of here? It was so hot, and there wasn’t really a lot of air. We tried to pry the doors open, but we could only get them open a crack before they sprung back shut.
Soon people were pulling out their cellphones. But how could we call the number written in sharpie inside the elevator when none of us could speak Russian? And to make matters worse, we soon realized there was no cell phone service inside of the elevator.
After waving a phone around in the air for a couple minutes, we were able to get reception just long enough to call Arkadiy and give him the numbers written inside the elevator.
Then the waiting game began.
We waited. And waited. The air became thinner and it started getting really hot. Eventually I realized that I wasn’t in America anymore. There was no easy escape–no button to push to send someone running to get us out immediately. We couldn’t even communicate with the other people who walked by because they spoke Russian and we spoke English. We were stuck in this tiny elevator. We would be stuck there until someone got there to help us, and who knew how long that would take.
When claustrophobia started to kick in, we knew we needed some air, so we pried the doors open a crack and shoved a water bottle between them so we could get a little air flow and just be able to see something outside of the tiny enclosed space.
We spent our time in the elevator praying, singing (which lasted about 5 seconds), praying, talking, praying…and toward the end of our hour, we decided to take some pictures and videos to document this crazy experience!
Eventually, a serviceman came, and the doors burst open. We tumbled out of the elevator, drinking in the fresh, cool (by comparison at least) air. We started running up the stairs, vowing never to take the elevator again (though flight after flight after flight after flight of stairs soon weakened that resolve).
This was a crazy, stressful experience, but also a bonding one for us. Nothing helps you learn more about people or grow closer to them than being trapped in a stressful situation together (in this case–literally!).
Memories in the making!