Manchester University
Oak Leaves

March 4, 2016

Elevator - Sarah
UPS AND DOWNS OF ELEVATORS Sophomores Andy Giles and Tod Oram and junior Colin Singer stand before the Helman Elevator. Photo by Sarah Farnam

Helman Elevator Turns into 'Hel-evator'

Sarah Farnam

Fear struck on many levels when sophomores Andy Giles, Tod Oram and Travis Richardson got stuck inside the elevator in Helman Hall last Saturday night. Accompanying them was a recruit––a senior in high school who is committed to playing soccer at the university next year. 

The three soccer-playing suitemates and their guest recruit were headed down from the third floor of the building to play pool in Helman’s great room. It took them about five minutes to realize their predicament. “I kind of jinxed the whole thing,” Oram said. “I joked that the elevator was gonna break on us one of these times, and were gonna be stuck. And then we looked at each other after about five minutes and we knew that we should’ve been on the first floor by then.”
Their first instinct was to call their suitemate, sophomore Dan Reyes, who had opted to take the stairs. As Reyes began to inform the proper authorities, from the RA on duty to campus safety and maintenance, the boys focused their own priorities. “We designated a bathroom corner in case we were in there for days,” Giles said. I also brought a speaker with me, so we started blasting music. We played ‘Blank Space’ by Taylor Swift, and then pretty much the entire ‘Straight Outta Compton’ CD.”
Members of Campus Safety arrived, but their efforts to free the boys from the elevator were unsuccessful. They resorted to calling an expert who knew the elevator system well and would head out to campus to help. 

Colin Singer, a junior and fellow player on the soccer team, had been standing by and communicating with the boys via text and shouting through the elevator doors. “I thought it was funny at first,” Singer admitted, “and then after like 20 minutes had passed I figured it wasn’t fun for them anymore.” 

Giles confirmed this, adding that it got “really hot and really smelly really fast.” When an hour had passed, they began looking for ways to get themselves out. 

The trapped four were able to pry open the door, only to realize that there was another panel blocking them from freedom. They passed this information along to Singer, who jumped into action. “I could move the door like an inch from the outside, and they could open their side completely. I told them to look for something that could unlock the outside panel,” Singer said. 

With an iPhone as his source of light, Oram found a lever that was keeping the door locked into place. Once it was moved, Singer easily slid open the door and discovered that his friends were stuck only a few feet above the floor. Red-faced and relieved, they jumped out.

Despite the incident, Oram and Giles have both gotten back into the Helman Hall elevator. “I was terrified,” Oram said. 

Giles was less concerned, noting that he continues to use it multiple times a day.

“Call us!” says Oram to anyone else who should get stuck in an elevator on campus. Now that they’ve got it all figured out, they’re ready to rescue the next victims of a stuck elevator.