Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Guy at the Elevator

No, this is not going to be one of those mushy stories of a random encounter that changes your life forever.

This is a story of the moral degradation that we continue to see and experience around us.

Different workplaces, different cultures. When I started 2 years ago at my new workplace, I did not immediately notice the different dress code, the more casual way people address each other (no ma'am's and sir's here), the different way they hold meetings, and the many other things that are different. What I first clearly noticed and felt, was that people don't hold the door open for other people. Where I used to work, when you open the door and see that someone is approaching and about to enter also, you wait and hold the door open for them and smile, and the person says "thank you". Man, woman, boss, staff... it didn't matter. It was how things were. Very trivial and something you might hardly notice until you start living without that common courtesy.

Here, people flash their ID's, open the door, and release. It doesn't matter if you are closely following at their heels. You just have to be alert to keep the door from slamming into you. There have been few exceptions, mostly if the person ahead of you is someone you know, and a few strangers. You get used to this after a while. The only people here to consistently greet you and hold the door open for you are the security guards (who are extremely courteous and polite in this place).

Well, people may not hold the door open for you, but at least they hold the elevator doors open. There are only 3 main elevators that serve the general population of 6th-30th floor offices. Hence, it has been the general courtesy to hold the doors open until the elevator is either full or you are sure that no one else is trying to get in. Which brings me back to the guy at the elevator.

I took the elevator after lunch earlier. As people were getting in, I saw a guy inside standing a bit to the back but leaning forward punching the elevator buttons frantically. I initially thought he was holding the elevator doors open for the others until I got in and took the space slightly in front of him. He was forced to release the elevator button and that was when I saw that he had been punching the "Close" button all along! He was trying to close the elevator doors as people were trying to get in! I glared back at him and he was trying hard not to look at me and stared at the ceiling. Stupid guy really. Didn't he realize that the elevator doors have sensors and won't close as long as there is something blocking it? I kept looking back and glaring at him the entire time it took the elevator to reach the 9th floor where he got off. The entire time, he was never brave enough to meet my gaze. If he had, I was planning to ask him if the elevator belongs to him.

What that guy did was completely selfish. He probably wanted to get back to his office immediately. But the elevator does not exist for his personal use, other people needed to use it. Maybe he was busy? Probably. But can you really be busy enough that you can't take a few seconds to practice common courtesy?

1 comment:

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