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Reference Question of the Week ¦ 1/26/14

   February 2nd, 2014

elevatorbuttons320Working with the public every day allows lots of opportunity for just weird interactions.

Our federal instruction booklets finally arrived, and I was wheeling boxes of them upstairs to put out for the public. Both the 1040 A and 1040 EZ instructions were delivered on the same day, so I had quite a few trips up the elevator with boxes stacked on a two-wheel dolly.

On one of the trips, when the elevator door opened upstairs to let me off, there was a woman standing smack in front of the elevator, waiting to get on. Obviously I had to get off first to make room for her, so she had to step back to let me pass. I didn't think twice about it or look back, but I presume she then got on the elevator.

I didn't have far to go to drop the boxes off, and since I had to go back downstairs for more, I was back at the elevator in just a minute or two. When I pressed the button to call the elevator, the door open immediately, and that same woman stepped out.

She looked around, looked at me with the dolly, and said,

Don't bother, this elevator doesn't work.

I really couldn't tell if she didn't remember that I had just gotten off of a successful elevator ride not two minutes ago.

I said something like, "Oh really? That's strange." and proceeded to get in anyway. She followed me in, and said,

Yeah, I wanted to go down, but when I press the "door close" button, nothing happens.

And of course, she pressed the door close button - and the door closed. So, trying to be both helpful and tactful, I said,

Oh - in this elevator, you need to press the "downstairs" button to go down.

I did, and the elevator descended. We rode down in absolute silence. When the door opened, she walked off, I went to get more tax form boxes, and I never saw her again.

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