Elevator superpowers

Posted in: Work stories

It wasn't too long ago that I tweeted about the time 3 lifts answered my call in the form of a My Life Is Average blurb:

Today, I pressed the 'call lift' button, and 3 of our building's 4 elevators answered my call. I want a better superpower. MLIA.

I've not been able to repeat this feat, but ever since then I've been getting 2 lifts answer my call on a more-than-usual basis. Before, something like 2-lifts-at-a-time happened about once every couple of months. Now, it happens once every 3 or 4 days. Most recently, I got into the lift (the first that answered my call, the second one was 1 second too slow), went to press the button that would take me to the basement exit of my work building, but was suddenly surprised at the brightness of our new lift buttons.

Here's a little backstory on my work's lifts:

When I started-out here, the lifts had a (dirty) white tile-like floor and buttons with black numbers that were fading with time and use. If a button had been pressed, a red light would glow above the number in the button. The floor was getting worn, especially with all the reshuffling of people (building renovations, corporate takeover, etc) that were going-on over the years, causing extreme wear and tear on the floors.

Once the shuffling had settled-down, they set to fix-up the lift tiles and ended-up replacing them with a nice new black floor. This introduced a new problem though: the black was reflected in the metal surfaces of the lift, including the buttons, thus making the buttons almost illegible: black on black FTW! I survived this time in the lifts' history because my floor's button was in an easy-to-memorize position amongst that grid of buttons, but many poor men and women became victims of spending countless seconds peering closer to the writing on the buttons just to try find their floor.

To combat this problem, they've been installing bright blue backlit floor buttons. Now you can read the numbers much more easily. Heck, they even come with braille for those who could never see the numbers in the first place! But, as usual, there is 1 flaw in the execution: the difference between a pressed button and an unpressed button is a matter of brightness; if it hasn't been pressed, it's bright; if it has been pressed, it's slightly brighter. The difference can be observed, but it isn't glaringly obvious like it was before.

This work to move to the bright blue buttons is still underway, and the lift being worked-on is of course shut down for the lift guy to work on it. So of our building's 4 elevators, only 3 are on at any given time. So this week, when I had 2 lifts answer my call, I was actually taking 66% of this building's lifts with me.

66% is more than half, but I still want a better superpower. At least my superpower isn't in-flight flight, or having SPF50 sunscreen squirt from my eyes.