Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The Elevator and Me

I had a unique experience this week. I had four pallets of heavy computer gear. We took four young NCO’s and went to a building on Ramstein to store the pallets. They have to move to the second floor….which luckily, there is a industrial elevator. So I push this cart onto the elevator, with two of my junior NCO’s. You can only go from floor one to floor two.

Somewhere in-between floor one and floor two….the damn elevator stops.

You can imagine the look on my face.

It’s not moving.

We’ve got about a 1,000 pounds in cargo, and three of us guys. I’m looking at the damn spec’s and the elevator could have handled our combined weight by double the weight that we had.

I’m standing now and thinking about the last coffee I had and whether there are any bodily functions that might occur shortly. I felt around…..I felt safe.

My associate near the buttons….got the “triple-finger” complex and began to eyeball the instructions on the door. It was in German and English. Three basic lines: (1) hit reset, (2) hit floor number, and (3) If process doesn’t work, repeat.

My associate then began jamming the buttons left and right. He probably hit the reset button thirty times in one minute.

Nothing moved.

My third associate was quietly sitting and just observing….leaning against the close proximity of the sidewall and the end door.

Minutes passed.

Our associates on the third floor, who had walked up….were asking if we had issues and they were getting to the point of calling the emergency folks. I could see myself sitting there for an hour or two.

Then….one of these button punches suddenly launched us six inches up. Then we stopped again. Five punches later….we launched another six inches up. We had around eight feet to make up now….to reach the civilized world.

At some point here….I’m looking at my associate leaning against the door area….and realizing the sensors are right there. I asked him to lean my way and suddenly we have no problems and go to the top floor in a second or two.

Yep, we were serious trouble….because he leaned against the door.

Luckily for me….that coffee hadn’t processed through my system yet.