Overheard Sharing Part 3: Elevator Speech

This post is the last in my three-part “overheard” series.  Click here and here to read the first two.  This last one is yet another instance where the internet could NOT come into play to facilitate sharing.

The location: A train at 185th Street Elevator. (Yes, I take the elevator. I have to. It is the only way to get to and from the train if you live in the mountains of Washington Heights as I do.)

The time: 9:30PM

The players: Two elevator attendants, one on the clock and one not.  (Yes, the elevators up here have attendants during peak hours. I know it’s weird that the MTA employs someone to push buttons, but they do. This picture shows how it works. They literally have a cube in the elevator and sometimes a stick so they don’t have to reach to push. They also hold the elevator when people empty off a train because I guess New Yorkers are too mean to be trusted to do so. Then they say goodbye when we all leave. Bizarre, but true, I swear. At first I hated it but now I’m used to it and am surprised by how many of my neighbors seem to befriend these workers.  They are friendly people after all…)

185th Street Elevator Attendant in Action: Please Pardon the Phone-Quality Photo.

Depicted here is a 185th Street Elevator Attendant in Action (Please Pardon the Phone-Quality Photo)

The scenario: So these two ladies are chit chatting away about their days, responsibilities, and who knows what. The elevator reaches the top, the doors open (and remain open thanks to the button pusher), and people shuffle out with harried and muffled “goodbyes” and “thank yous” and “have a good nights” to the attendant.

“Get home safe,” saying the on duty attendant. 

“Oh that’s a good one, ” says her off duty friend. “I’m going to use that.”

Funny, how what some view as a nonchalant formality, others view as a serious and important interchange. This reminds me of the classic Xerox repairmen walkie talkie case, except even less digital. Us elevator riders don’t think much of that portion of our commute, but these two women evidently take their job and the daily social interactions that go with it as serious business. And, they share way more than a bright yellow office.



Filed under Case Studies

2 responses to “Overheard Sharing Part 3: Elevator Speech

  1. Lucaspewkas

    I have to back that up with my own experience as an employee of a Safeway deli. Although nobody really would even remember we were there, so long as they got their roast chicken, anybody that took the trouble to say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ instantly made your day better. Anyone that was rude just for the sake of it I don’t think realised just how much of an effect it actually had on us.

    By the way, I only just found your site thanks to your email signature!

  2. christypill

    Aw, good story. I’m remember that at Associated and at Fairway next time. 🙂 Glad you found the blog. See you soon hopefully…

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