Trapped in lifts - 10 of your stories

Two women stuck in lift

A recent story about why people feel awkward in lifts - or elevators as they are known in the US - triggered a big response from our readers. Many wrote in to share stories of being trapped.

Read the original story here: Why do we behave so oddly in lifts?

Brian Acott, Arkholme, UK I was once trapped in a lift in an old office block. I rang the alarm for ages but no one responded so, in a "Bruce Willis" moment, I forced the doors open - only to find I was just a couple of inches off the ground floor. I walked out with what little dignity I had left.

Don, Gatineau, Canada I grew up on Long Island and when I was 11 my mother, my two younger brothers and my aunt were in the city. The adults decided to take us to the top of the Empire State Building as us kids had not been there. The elevator got stuck between the 55th and 56th floor. We shared the elevator with two Danish women who had a two-year-old with them. I always remember they let him relieve himself in the corner. We were stuck for about 90 minutes and for some reason no one panicked. Finally we made our way to the top and enjoyed the view. The next day my aunt noticed she had a few burst veins in her legs, I suppose from the [raised blood] pressure.

Start Quote

I had 8% mobile phone charge left so I rang my sister, who wasted 6% of it laughing at our predicament ”

End Quote Clare Sayan Sheffield, UK

Lynn Hnat, Kenilworth, UK I got stuck in a lift with my 18-month-old baby. The thing is, I am deaf. I did push the buttons and was able to tell that someone was there but had no idea what they were saying. I just repeated, "I am stuck with a baby and I am deaf, I cannot hear... please send someone out." I just repeated this again and again, over two hours. I entertained my boy with Bob the Builder, saying that he (Bob) will come and get us. Finally, after two hours, we got the doors to open. There should be some text or screen that can let deaf people know what is happening.

Philippos Frangos, Limassol, Cyprus I am the owner of a lift company in Cyprus. A few years ago we had finished installing a lift in a prestigious villa in a village up on the mountains. It was Friday afternoon and the villa owner was coming to stay in her home the next day. I was there with one technician and helped him adjust the lift. We went up and down countless times and everything seemed to be in order. We picked up all our tools and were about to leave the villa, being the last people there, when we got trapped in the lift on the very last trip. You see, it happens to all of us. It was not possible to call for help so we had to get out on our own. We practically dismantled half the cabin from inside before we could get out!

Kenny Wheeler Trapped in a lift, Kenny Wheeler called for help via Facebook - 10 friends "liked" his status

Claire Sayan, Sheffield, UK I had taken my three children to see Santa at Meadowhall on Christmas Eve when we got stuck in a lift between floors. I pressed the alarm button which rang through to the lift makers. I was played a recorded message that said "We are now closed until the New Year, have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year"! I had 8% mobile phone charge left so I rang my sister, who wasted 6% of it laughing at our predicament before I finally made her listen long enough to ask her to ring the shopping centre itself and inform them of our whereabouts. My children thought we were going to have to spend Christmas in the lift. We were stuck for half an hour before they winched us down.

Colin, Edinburgh, Scotland I got stuck in the lift at my flat, with a female friend, on New Year's morning after a fine Edinburgh Hogmanay. Found it the ideal place to practise salsa. The confined space creates the ideal level of intimacy required to get the steps right. Of course, you have to hum the same tune.

Kenny Wheeler, Swindon, UK I was once stuck in the lift at my place of work, a local college. It must have been for around 35-40 minutes. After pressing the alarm button several times, I came to the conclusion that no-one was going to come in a hurry. So I updated my Facebook status to let my friends know to ring the college and tell them I was stuck in the lift. Ten people "liked" my status before thankfully one person who I worked with contacted the appropriate people and I was freed.

Elevator etiquette elsewhere

German chancellor Angela Merkel and others in a lift, 2010

In our original story, we explored why people felt awkward in lifts. Several readers wrote in to describe how people behave where they are:

"Get in a lift in Switzerland, France, or Italy and people will greet you as you enter, smile graciously and wish you a good day as you leave the lift. If you don't participate, people think you are rude and cold." Matt, London

"An odd custom I observed in Madrid is that everyone says goodbye when exiting - even though nobody talks whilst on board. It is the same awkwardness as everywhere else." Claudette, Madrid

"Every day I enter a lift in a multi-national organisation, where various conflicting lift etiquette cultures meet. The French expect you to say "bonjour" when you enter and "au revoir" when you leave. The Finns (and most Nordics) prefer silence and are uncomfortable if someone forces them to interact by saying "bonjour". I am definitely a Nordic on this issue." Henry Wickens, Luxembourg

Anon, Plymouth, UK I was once stuck in a small lift for about two hours with four other people. The fact that there were other people there made the ordeal less frightening, even though it was crowded, but my biggest fear was how I was going to urinate because I was the only female. The men were happy to pee down the shaft. It annoys me that those alarm buttons never seem to work, because no-one responded. Eventually one of the guys phoned the police, who said they would help, but never came. After about two hours, one of the guys finally realised how to open the second set of doors. We found ourselves between two floors, and jumped down to the lower one. Had we not rescued ourselves, I don't know how long we would've been there, since no-one seemed to care that we were stuck in there. Luckily I was able to control my bladder for the entire duration.

Lydia Kari, Nairobi, Kenya The lift got stuck between the 13th and 14th floor. It was just me and a guy who was high on something. I panicked and must have pressed the alarm enough times but at the same time tried not to show this guy I was more scared of him than the lift getting stuck. When the lift operators came I could not wait for them to work on it, despite them requesting me to be patient. They did what they could and pulled us out manually because of my persistence.

Jude Awdry, Princes Risborough, UK When travelling on a ferry between Plymouth and Santander, my young daughter was feeling very seasick. We went in the lift to go back to our cabin when it stopped and was stuck. We were eventually released but not before she had been violently sick several times!

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