Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Elevator Etiquette, or lack thereof.

So we were at Children's in DC for Harlie's post-op appointment yesterday. The main building has 4 or 5 elevators and they are always busy. And what I mean by busy is that everyone files into the lobby and waits for an elevator. One opens up and everyone practically runs over each other to cram themselves in it. Then the lobby empties out (except for the poor folks that couldn't fit) and more people begin to fill the lobby. Do the people who got there after those poor folks care that they were there first? No.

Most of the time, this doesn't bother me that much. I mean, hey, it's a mean world, you gotta make a place for yourself, right? Well, we're at a CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL people. Which means there are a lot of parents there with disabled children - in wheelchairs. And as I walked into the lobby with Harlie there was a mom with a teenaged child in a large wheelchair. The kind that had his legs extended. And she didn't make it into the elevator that was closing. Which left her and then us. Then the lobby started to fill up again. And we stood there FOREVER it seemed waiting for another elevator. One elevator had a closed sign and another one never made it to the first floor. So it was an unusually long wait.

And as I stood there, I just knew that mom was not going to get her kid on the next elevator. And I started to wonder how many elevators she'd missed. Well, I just happened to be standing in front of the elevator that opened. I held it open and motioned to that mom to come on - and everyone jumped right in front of her, and of course, she couldn't get on. I was SO mad! When the door closed I told everyone in that elevator how sad it was that there was a mom with her child in a wheelchair that had been standing there longer than they had and that they jumped in front of her. They just looked at me and didn't say a word. And I looked around and it appeared that I was the only parent! Everyone else looked like they worked there! Granted, I've been mistaken as an employee before, so I shouldn't jump to conclusions - but still.

How is it that we stand in lines for everything else - but when it comes to elevators it's freaking chaos? And then people try to get on before the people can get off (which is just plain dumb). I just don't get it. Where is the humanity???

And I just keep seeing her face. She looked so tired. I wonder how many times she's watched those elevators fill up. With people that have the ability to take the stairs. It makes me wish that those people in the elevator with me could walk in her shoes for a day. I wonder what they would think of themselves after that. Ahhh, so many wishes, so few granted...

They'll be a better post tomorrow. I promise.

5 comments:

Rene said...

Very sad. We were lucky enough at MUSC to not have much of an elevator rush, except at lunch time. I usually tried to get an empty one and let everyone else go ahead of me. You know, confined spaces, lots of people and trachs don't mix.

How rude would it have been to have told the crowd "wait, she's been here waiting" and then kicked them out of the elevator? I'm soooo sure they would have went willingly (yeah right), but at least they'd feel like crap for staying if they had any heart.

Donna said...

Kudos to you for posting that Christy. As one of "those" mom's, it's just one more reminder (as if we needed anymore) of how different we are. Good for you for saying something in the elevator, it unfortunately did nothing for that mom, but maybe you helped out the next one...

Anonymous said...

You have SUCH a big heart Christy.
LOVE YOU !! Marcy

Susan said...

That is really bad. Sometimes I'm ashamed to be a part of the human species. I am so glad you said something. And while I am not surprised that those people said nothing I'm SURE they will be thinking about what you said. And perhaps they do work there and the next time they see someone in a wheelchair waiting they will help. That's all I can hope.

Michele Andolina said...

You know, we're constantly reminded here at MCV that patients have first access to elevators. It's not unusual for someone to ask people to get off the elevator if someone has been waiting or has an obvious need. Cheers to you for saying something. It just sucks that those nasty people didn't listen.