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  1. #1
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    Aug 2003
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    Exclamation 41 hours on elevator VIDEO

    MUST SEE! Time lapsed video of Nicholas White, who was trapped in an elevator in New York City’s McGraw-Hill building for forty-one hours. Here is a condensed look at White’s ordeal, as captured by the building’s security cameras.

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/vide...0421_elevators

  2. #2
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    Dec 2003
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    Oh, my God. He must have started to wonder if he would EVER get out. I can't even imagine how horrible it would be to just be trapped, trying to signal for help and nobody responds. Poor guy got so desperate that he even cleaned out his wallet at some point, or at least that's what it looks like to me!

    He'll probably sue. And boy, he'll win!

  3. #3
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    Aug 2006
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    It happened in 1999. He did sue. He now feels he should have gone back to work, as part of putting it behind him. He's broken to this day. I've read the whole article. It is *LONG*, but worth reading. (ETA: There are LONG, LONG swathes giving facts about elevators, interspersed in the elevator facts is White's story. I grumbled and humphed the whole time I read the article, because I think it was poorly constructed, two seperate articles cut and pasted together making it hard to make sense of either. I think it should have been two seperate articles, and not one.)

    I'll quote the last bit of it. This is just a small snipped of the whole article. If you pull it up, you'll see what I mean. I know it looks like a lot. It isn't, for that article.

    Quote Originally Posted by The New Yorker
    At a certain point, Nicholas White ran out of ideas. Anger and vindictiveness took root. He began to think, They, whoever they were, shouldn’t be able to get away with this, that he deserved some compensation for the ordeal. He cast about for blame. He wondered where his colleague was, why she hadn’t been alarmed enough by his failure to return, jacketless, from smoking a cigarette to call security. Whose fault is this? he wondered. Who’s going to pay? He decided that there was no way he was going to work the following week.
    And then he gave up. The time passed in a kind of degraded fever dream. On the videotape, he lies motionless for hours at a time, face down on the floor.
    A voice woke him up: “Is there someone in there?”
    “Yes.”
    “What are you doing in there?”
    White tried to explain; the voice in the intercom seemed to assume that he was an intruder. “Get me the **** out of here!” White shrieked. Duly persuaded, the guard asked him if he wanted anything. White, who had been planning to join a few friends at a bar on Friday evening, asked for a beer.
    Before long, an elevator-maintenance team arrived and, over the intercom, coached him through a set of maneuvers with the buttons. White asked what day it was, and, when they told him it was Sunday at 4 P.M., he was shocked. He had been trapped for forty-one hours. He felt a change in the breeze, which suggested that the elevator was moving. When he felt it slow again, he wrenched the door open, and there was the lobby. In his memory, he had to climb up onto the landing, but the video does not corroborate this. When he emerged from the elevator, he saw his friends, with a couple of security guards, and a maintenance man, waiting, with an empty chair. His friends turned to see him and were appalled at the sight; he looked like a ghost, one of them said later. The security guard handed him an open Heineken. He took one sip but found the beer repellent, like Hans Castorp with his Maria Mancini cigar. White told a guard, “Somebody could’ve died in there.”
    “I know,” the guard said.

    *snip*



    White never went back to work at the magazine. Caught up in media attention (which he shunned but thrilled to), prodded by friends, and perhaps provoked by overly solicitous overtures from McGraw-Hill, White fell under the sway of renown and grievance, and then that of the legal establishment. He got a lawyer, and came to believe that returning to work might signal a degree of mental fitness detrimental to litigation. Instead, he spent eight weeks in Anguilla. Eventually, Business Week had to let him go. The lawsuit he filed, for twenty-five million dollars, against the building’s management and the elevator-maintenance company, took four years. They settled for an amount that White is not allowed to disclose, but he will not contest that it was a low number, hardly six figures. He never learned why the elevator stopped; there was talk of a power dip, but nothing definite. Meanwhile, White no longer had his job, which he’d held for fifteen years, and lost all contact with his former colleagues. He lost his apartment, spent all his money, and searched, mostly in vain, for paying work. He is currently unemployed.

    Looking back on the experience now, with a peculiarly melancholic kind of bewilderment, he recognizes that he walked onto an elevator one night, with his life in one kind of shape, and emerged from it with his life in another. Still, he now sees that it wasn’t so much the elevator that changed him as his reaction to it. He has come to terms with the trauma of the experience but not with his decision to pursue a lawsuit instead of returning to work. If anything, it prolonged the entrapment. He won’t blame the elevator

  4. #4
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    Dec 2005
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    I think he's right that the actual lawsuit is what caused his slow demise. That's so interesting to me. I hope he can recover from this as the years go by.

    Sadly, I'm sure the lawyers involved are VERY happy.

  5. #5
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    Apr 2005
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    Poor guy. the experience was obviously genuinely excruciating. i would still be a basket case.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2003
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    I have to take an elevator nearly every day at school. I always think about getting stuck in there because it is so stuffy. I wonder which would be worse, getting stuck by yourself or getting stuck with a bunch of strangers.

  7. #7
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    Aug 2006
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    Well, I'd almost say (for me, at least) stuck with strangers would be worse. Maybe one stranger I could handle, but not more than one. That's just another element to add to the mix. Strangers driving each other nutz, on top of the primal stress of being trapped. No thanks....I'll sit and dream for a time until I either expire or am rescued.

  8. #8
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    Dec 2005
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    Ugh, I'd rather be stuck by myself (ahhh, no kids). LOL

    Just the thought alone of having to take care of "business" with strangers in the same small area freaks me out.

  9. #9
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    Nov 2004
    Location
    Canada
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    Our oldest went to a "holiday" city with his Nanny and her son on a March break one time. He was excited to go away without Mom and Dad. He was about 8 at the time. Just a two hour drive away from our City.

    Well, the elevator in the Hotel got stuck between floor one and floor two.

    I am sure it would have been fine if the Nanny did not literally freak out. It was only about 10-15 minutes, but the Nanny, had a serious problem with elevators and closed spaces.

    Do you think that we could get him back on an elevator after that. It took years, literally years. I did everything I could.......no amount of reason and logic could change his mind.

    So I took him to a company that repairs elevators. They went through everything with him. He finally did start taking elevators, but very nervous and white fisted. Then he started to relax, because he never got stuck again.

    Now no problem.

    I remember a visit to the hospital, we had to take the stairs for 10 floors. I thought, thank god I am at a hospital, because I am going to have a heart attack......right here and now, going up these stairs.....

    He zipped right along, all the while saying: Come on Mom, you are too slow, hurry up Mom, what is wrong Mom. I don't need a rest, why do you, only 6 flight to go Mom. Why don't we race to see who gets to the 10th floor first..........but it did show me how out of shape I was. Big time.....

  10. #10
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    Dec 2005
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    16,234
    Well done, CyberLaw!

    My dd's babysitter was deathly afraid of thunderstorms. My dd and I loved thunderstorms before she came into our lives. **sigh** DD picked up on that very easily and I had to do what you did. Retrain her basically. Fortunately she still loves them to this day!

    I can see why elevators would be scary. You really have no control over what happens if they fail.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    531
    Quote Originally Posted by golfmom View Post
    MUST SEE! Time lapsed video of Nicholas White, who was trapped in an elevator in New York City’s McGraw-Hill building for forty-one hours. Here is a condensed look at White’s ordeal, as captured by the building’s security cameras.

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/vide...0421_elevators
    Replying to this post months later, bc it came up on a search I did for something else..

    I got trapped in an elevator once for an hour, with my son. He played his video game, and didn't much care. We were on the bottom floor, otherwise I might have panicked that it would drop or something. Mostly it was hot and dark. There was an emergency button and a woman came on much like an Onstar commercial. I told her we were stuck and she assured us help would be on the way. Firefighters came out, but had trouble opening the door. When it finally opened, the air felt SOOOO good. I am claustrophobic, but that didn't bother me, but maybe bc i had company.

    I still ride elevators, but if they act funny I get off on the next floor and walk. (The elevator I got stuck in had been acting wonky for weeks, the elevator guys had come out a few times to fix it before my experience with it).

    It must have reached 105 degrees in there, within the hour.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    California
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    602
    Sweet mother of...

    I WOULD LOSE MY FREAKIN' MIND. I am way too hyperactive for that nonsense.

    That said, I do have a habit of talking to myself when I am alone (have since childhood) so at least I'd have conversation to help pass the time!



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