By: Wayne Brown
Life has taken me on many journeys since my college days. Some were short journeys; some were to the isolated points around the globe. Some were for work, others for war, and a few were for pleasure. Although I have long since tired of the adventure associated with the journeys, I am still on the go and although technology has marched miles ahead in those years since college, some things just stay the same.
There is a common thread associated with most of my journeys....the elevator. Yes, the hydro-mechanical lift is a beast that seems to have a constant and binding presence in my life. Hotels, high-rise downtown buildings, small buildings with two or three stories, they all have an elevator or two. Some are large and rise up many floors. Others are quite small and service only one or two levels in a building. Regardless, there is a singular feature associated with all of them that makes me stop and wonder...why?
What is it about folks that causes them to huddle tightly around the entry/exit doors of the elevator as they await its arrival? Why is it that they want to get on the elevator before anyone can get off? Obviously the people in the elevator have chosen to ride to the nottom floor in order that they might get off and continue on their journey. The door opens, they expect to get off. Yet, the “huddlers”, as I like to call them, are there like tailgaters on the freeway, impatiently waiting to lurch forward as soon as the doors open in an overpowering attempt to occupy a space that may already be quite crowded with riders. Why do they do that? Why do they fail to learn not to do it after they experience it one time? Why do they seem surprised that someone is already on the elevator? Are these the same people who attempt to run us off the road as we drive down the freeway? I can only wonder.
I really think that segment of our population involved in the art and science of elevator design needs to do some serious soul searching and come up with a new design that segregates the people on the elevator from those who are waiting to be on it, those huddlers. Oh, I know, they!20are segregaped until the door opens)E2that80s when$the trouble starts. That’s the part that needs, no, let me emphasize, requires a more functional change. I can only imagine the%:0abject panic)20that might ensue if af unsuspecting!20OSHA inspecpor happened up an encounter with the huddlers...it wouldn't be pretty.
You know, the thought just occurred to me that this might be a very easy fix and one that could potentially be designed by a layperson such as myself. We can learn much in this situation from the folks who decide our public restrooms. Often, these facilities have a designed functionality that offers an exclusive entry door and a designated exit door allowing the traffic in and out of the facility to flow smoothly. Another example is the transit systems in airports where the door on the left opens to entry ramp and the door on the right serves the exit ramp. What a wonderful idea and it eliminates that forward surge to board so quickly exhibited by those huddlers you see hanging around the doors.
If this is not the solution to this persistent problem, then I sure hope someone will find an effective method to address it before a serious problem erupts and leads to some type of incident that brings it all into the light of public scrutiny. Oh, that would be bad for lots of folks…elevator companies, building managers, apartment complexes…just a plethora of potential victims. Of course, anytime so many are affected, the federal government is bound to get involved and that can only lead to a lot of complex and expensive legislation which will implement the changes that could so easily have been implemented if everyone involved would have just listened to me when I was pleading for a solution. They would probably call it the "Huddler Legislation" and out of it would come a "Bill Of Elevator Rider Rights".
Whatever the true solution, it is obvious that it will not be implemented in the very near future. Thus, we can hope that possibly some sort of temporary fix will help to bridge the gap until better times can arrive. Might I offer a suggestion that each one of us as responsible citizens can employ in the names decency and moral justice. When you enter a building and notice a group of huddlers standing near the elevator door, step to the front of the crowd, and in your best authoritative voice ask the huddlers to, “step away from the door” while at the same time thrusting your arms outwardly with the palms of the hands exposed and the fingers extended. Once you have completed this step and the elevator arrives, those on board will be able to gingerly discharge from it and happily go on their way. You will have accomplished a great service for mankind and set a positive example of leadership with your fellow citizens.
It is my hope, no my dream, that the actions which I have outlined above can come to fruitition and, as a public, we will rapidly bring "Huddler Awareness" to the forefront, which, once exposed, can only incite public outrage resulting in an overwhelming suppression of the huddling techniques so aptly employed by this cumbersome, insensitive people movement. Now, to quote Dr. Laura, “Go out there and do the right thing”. And, good luck, brother! You da man!