Gentleman kicks elevator door open, falls down shaft

This is the perfect excuse to tell one of my New Orleans being New Orleans stories.

I went to college in New Orleans, and years later I returned for Jazz Fest with a friend I didn’t go to college with. New Orleans has this way of feeling nostalgic even if you didn’t live there. I was fighting a lot of the time the feeling of deja vu all over again, to the point that I was very deliberately not doing things I’d done in college to avoid the disturbing feeling of traveling back in time.

One night my friend took me to one of her friends’ homes. It was, of course, on Fountainebleau Drive, which is one of the more famous streets in Uptown - a street I’d been on many times in college as there was a famous party house there rented by several really cute boys I knew (“the house of good looking men,” my roommate and I had dubbed it). I’d dated one of the guys for a month during Mardi Gras, so I’d been on Fountainbleau a lot. So much for not doing things I’d done back in the day.

Some pics of that neighborhood, sadly many now have FEMA trailers in the yard.

We go to the house and we are sitting on their big front porch with fans swirling overhead eating steamed artichokes and remoulade sauce with the home owners, this couple that’s about our age. We were also drinking some damn fine sazeracs which the husband had made for us - his specialty.

The man works as a PI and he had previously run a small, traveling circus. He told us that one of the reasons that he was good at being a PI was that in his line of work, you occasionally just had to punch someone and back in his circus days, he had learned that it was expected that when someone ran away or acted up the manager was supposed to beat that person up. So, he got good at randomly beating people up.

The guy had fallen down a stairwell about 10 stories once when the doors to an elevator had opened but the elevator was not there. Ever since he had had problems with being confused. It sounded like a terrible, traumatic experience.


What about anti-Florida bias? It’s very serious!


Both of these confuse me, because both guys clearly see that there’s no elevator behind the door…soooooo why do they both take that next step and drive/walk in?

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Yup. What did they think?

…did they think?

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I do feel bad for laughing the moment he walked though the door to the shaft. Seems he was unclear on how elevators work.


He really had to work that to fall to his death.

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Well, that’s a kicker.

Simple stupidity at work? IE they don’t really get the concept of elevators? (they think the doors are just an annoyance and the elevator is always there) Or drunkenness shutting down higher thinking processes? :stuck_out_tongue:

Never underestimate the human stupidity that is possible… (plus i remember being shocked when very little finding out the road-crossing lady on the way to school was not there 24/7, which is kinda similar)

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Who’s the dark metal pit
That’s a death machine to angry dicks?
You’re damn right


Wait what? 10 stories times 10 feet = 100 feet.

I guess that’s survivable, depends what you land on, and how you land, apparently:

Falls can kill by inflicting damage to any number of vital organs, but the most common reason is due to a key artery’s route through the body. “Most people who fall from a height die because they fracture their spine near the top and so transect the aorta which carries blood out of the heart,” says Sean Hughes, professor of surgery at Imperial College, London.

Landing on your side might be the best way to survive a fall, adds Hughes. It doesn’t take much of a fall to cause damage. “From a height of 3m you could fracture your spine,” he says. “At around 10m, you’re looking at very serious injuries.”


John Smith, 46, looked up the elevator shaft and saw the elevator coming. The End.


That’s a really unlikely occurrence. All new US elevators are set up so that the elevator itself opens the doors - no elevator at that floor, the doors won’t open unless you force them open, and that’s not easy without a tool (I suspect the Chinese elevators aren’t subject to the same safety requirements, somehow, and are more easily kicked in). The common exception being those older open-cage designs where you have to open the door yourself and you can see if the elevator is on that floor or not. You could easily fall down an elevator shaft in that case if you (or someone else) opened the door, but you’ve have to really not be paying attention/be pretty intoxicated.

I suspect that falling down an elevator shaft of any height would tend to impair your recollection of the specifics of the event. Simply falling over onto a hard surface could be enough to leave you with serious brain trauma and permanent impairment, whereas a long fall could be survivable if you were slowed by getting caught on cables/ledges on the way down. Ten stories is a nice, round - and impressive - number that works well in a recounting of events, though.

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Yeah, this was a while back, so I can’t remember the exact drop, but it was a long drop down and he had permanent brain damage from it.

I think he was in a building that was still under construction, so maybe it wasn’t fully installed.

Drop a straight line like that, and someone had to pick it up. But thank you, try the veal! :slight_smile:

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Since he survived, I’d actually be curious to hear his account of what he thought he was doing. Donald Norman talks about the mental models we have about how everyday objects function, and the ways those mental models steer us wrong. I can only imagine he’d never been in a glass elevator before.


The veal is delicious tonight by the way!

That’s not a wheelchair, that’s a mobility scooter. I don’t know why, but at least in UK, there is a fairly reliable correlation between mobility scooter use and low education level / obesity level of driver. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same correlation could be observed in China.

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It is hard to keep your weight down when you become physically disabled. Low education usually leads towards poverty which then leads to poor diet which can also cause disability.

I suspect a lot of people with disability scooters in the UK have diabetes and complications relating to it.


What kind of shitty doors are those anyway? Maybe I’ve only been to elevator-conscious places, but I’ve never seen one that wouldn’t easily withstand a full-on Arnie attack.