Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Child #3 gets stuck in elevator

So, we're staying at a hotel in the OC for four days of water polo Junior Olympics. Child #3 is supposed to meet me and Child #4 in the lobby to leave for his 2nd game of the day. He doesn't show. Annoyed, I phone around to see if he's left with another family for the pool. Everyone, by now, is en route. No one has any idea where Child #3 is. I leave Child #4 in the lobby to watch for him, then race upstairs to see if he misunderstood and is at our room.

Nope.

Then....I'm standing outside our empty hotel room and...

I hear him spelling his name!

But I can't see him!

I sprint up and down the hall screaming out for him. While all these horrible thoughts crash around my mind. Like he's being held against his will in one of the rooms. And other thoughts of which parental nightmares are made.

Finally, I slow down enough to hear him say in a calm voice, "Mom, I'm stuck in the elevator."

I race over to the closed doors and, sure enough, I can hear him giving my cell phone number to someone.

Hotel management phones me, promising to have him out in 5 minutes.

Which doesn't happen. After THIRTY-FIVE minutes and several phone calls, Child #3 decides to try prying open the doors.

Which works!

Then he steps way up...and he's there, beside me.

We take the stairs down to the lobby to inform them of his escape.

I am very very impressed with Child #3. Did he panic while stuck all alone in an elevator for 35 minutes? No. Actually, he did his push-ups! And, according to the video tape, made a lot of silly faces. Child #3 is calm and cucumber-cool in a crisis. What an asset that will be in life.

This has not been a stellar hotel stay: a sink that doesn't drain; a phone that only works on speaker; and an elevator that swallows up 12 year old boys. Not staying at this Radisson again.

Here's a link to the New Yorker article on a guy trapped in an elevator for a weekend.

25 comments:

deboradale said...

Barrie,
I've been trying to comment on your posts for almost two weeks now but my computer has been... obnoxious about it. Dang Vista. I hope this goes through...
What an awful experience for you and your son! And yet... wow! He handled it amazingly well. I can 'hear' how proud you are of him, as you should be. I hope the hotel somehow compensates you for all that occurred there during your stay.
~Debbie

preTzel said...

I would be a freaking mess if that were my kid. I'm glad your son stayed calm and cool and was able to get himself out of that situation and that he wasn't in one of those "nightmare" of parents. I'd love to have your son around during a crisis because I'm one of those "OMG! WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE! DIE! DIE!" kind of people. LOL!

Charles Gramlich said...

Wow, scary for you. I can imagine my own panic in such a situation. I'm glad Child 3 stayed calm. Sounds like a smart and strong kid there.

Sarakastic said...

I would have cried in that situation. Then I would've yelled at people. Good for him!

Stacy said...

I haven't been 12 in many, many years, but I would have freaked out. Enclosed spaces are not my friends.

Good for him! Is it time to start discussing with him his life calling to be a surgeon? ;)

Bina said...

Oh my lord, this thing swallowed my comment!

OMG! He was STUCK in an elevator?? That hotel should give you all your money back. I mean, a non-draining sink is bad enough, but your son was STUCK in an elevator. What a great, mature child he is, and you made this story funny, which I LOVE!

Meredith said...

That's funny. I can't believe he did push ups and was making faces while stuck in the elevator. I would be freaking out, calling everyone I knew on my cell phone to try to get my butt outta there!

~Meredith

Travis Erwin said...

What an experience. Glad it turned out okay.

Mary said...

What a calm and resourceful child. And he used the time to do his push-ups! Great stuff. :)

Barrie said...

Bina, the hotel ended up comping us two nights. :)

Laura said...

OH my - what a scare...so glad that everyone kept calm...Did you get a copy of the video tape - that would be a keepsake!!!

So happy everyone was safe. WHat brave children you have.

Chantal said...

OMG I can't believe he got through that so calmly. AMAZING. I hope all is well, with the earth quake and all. Take Care

Sheri said...

Barry, this actually made me well up with tears. As a mom (and by the way you write, even if I wasn't a mom) I was right there with you through the whole ordeal. Luckily, you are a writer and can store away those feelings and emotions to be used later in some scene somewhere.

One time when my girls were quite young, we were all getting on an elevator (or maybe off an elevator...) anyway, she got on and the doors closed and we were separated. Instantly I, too had visions that are what parental nightmares are made from of my three year old alone on the upper level of a busy mall. But then I thought... push the button, duh! And when I did, they just popped open and there she was.

You've obviously done an amazing job raising your son. He didn't get this way by accident!

Barbara Martin said...

Children can be amazing when you least expect it. Child #3 has a good head on his shoulders and he inherited from someone.

Annie said...

Um wow! That's an amazing child you've got there. Must be the survial middle child instinct!

Laura said...

I live on the 9th floor in a condo building. Often I think of what I would do should I be stuck in the elevator. When I have groceries, I think "Hey, I'll have food."
Other times the thought creeps me out. I think I'll take a lesson from your son....do some push ups and hang in there.
I'm glad this story had a happy ending.
I'm looking forward to reading your book...maybe you can come to our school for an author visit?
We can discuss grahamlala@yahoo.com

debra said...

Kudos to you AND your son for knowing what to do. Keep us posted about the games (and congrats on the comped room:-)

~Virginia~ said...

aw, poor kid! glad he handled it well though. :) and congrats on the 2 book deal!!! awesome!

Angela said...

Now that is something doing his workout in an elevator.

I wouldn't have been that calm

Shelli said...

Eck! I'm glad he got out!

Eileen said...

I would have freaked out, which wouldn't have been helpful. You should pat yourself on the back for raising such a great kid, staying calm and doing push ups? I hope the hotel did something to make it up to you.

laughingwolf said...

great your son is cool in a crisis...

[i'm home after a week off, stiff/sore from fall to rocks, thursday]

Sandy Levin said...

Wow - Barrie. Glad Child #3 wasn't abducted by an alien - hey - maybe that's another idea for a new book :-) I So Don't Do Elevators!

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Goodness, how scary! I wish I were cucumber-cool--kudos to him!

Bee said...

I've just been catching up on two weeks of your news, having just got back from my own vacation. I'm so pleased that you got a new book contract! I would also like to note my admiration of your son -- what an asset to be cool whilst "under pressure."