The following is a time lapse recording of Nicholas White’s 41 hour ordeal of being trapped in an elevator. The event itself happened in 1999 and the accompanying New Yorker article about it is from April of 2008, but this is the first time I’ve seen it.
I can vividly recall a trip to Chicago with my mother and brother as a child where I ended up momentarily trapped in an elevator. We were at a hotel and my brother and I headed to the elevator while mom was doing something at the front desk. We were standing in the car, me with bags of some sort in my arms and my brother holding the door open button, when my mother called Wes back over to the desk. Before I could follow him out the doors closed and the car started up.
I was under the age of 10 at the time and I can’t clearly recall how many floors the hotel had or which one we were on, but I do clearly recall the sudden panic I was gripped with. I put the bags down and started clawing at the doors and at some point, I think it was five or six floors up, I managed to pry the elevator doors open just prior to it reaching the next floor jamming the elevator into position and necessitating that I crawl up and out into the parking garage. The garage itself was a huge spiral ramp thing and I ended up running all the way down with both of the bags I had with me in my arms (I think they were grocery bags) bawling my eyes out the entire way. At one point a man in a car stopped to ask me if I needed help, but I wasn’t supposed to talk to strangers so I just kept running. It’s was a full on-panic kind of run and is probably why I remember fairly clearly.
The point of all that background is so I can say that I know the sort of panic being trapped in an elevator can cause so I felt a great deal of empathy watching that video. He really was trapped and for a ridiculous amount of time. I can only imagine how memories from my childhood would feed into my own panic if I were in a similar situation. Yikes!