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Elevator Joy Rides

A few weeks ago, I visited a dear friend who was in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital in her hometown.  After lengthy and difficult travel most of the day, my husband and I finally arrived at the hospital around 10:00 pm. Because it was after hours, I had to submit my driver’s license at the security desk to get a security pass, go to the elevator and use the security pass to get access to it, wait for the elevator to arrive and go to the appropriate floor.   The elevator opens to reveal a receptionist desk not more than 12 feet to my left and a large waiting area past the desk.  As I walk up to the desk to get further access into the ICU and my friend’s room, a young adult female, I’m guessing in her early 20’s, standing to the side of the desk announces to me, my husband and the receptionist that she wants to get on the elevator, push every floor button and ride the elevator up and down for an undetermined period of time.  I did something so uncharacteristic that my husband did a doubletake.  I calmly, and with a deadpan expression, looked at her and said, “Don’t be a pain in the ass. This isn’t about what you want.”

My reaction was based on an immediate understanding of how this “play” could negatively affect people getting to the ICU at a time they were already stressed. If I had been on the elevator when it hit every floor as the seconds ticked by merely to amuse this bored woman, I would have been very irritated and distressed.  I am on my way to possibly say “good bye” to someone who is teetering on the brink of death and the last thing I need is to be a passenger on someone else’s elevator joy rides delaying my arrival even more.   0211-13

Stress and grief make people say stupid things.   I would have been sorely tempted to have said the same thing to her as well.


{ 64 comments… add one }
  • waitress wonderwoman February 28, 2013, 2:41 am

    It’s somewhat late where I am right now, so I’m afraid I might be reading this story wrong. A woman in her 20’s? Not a child? She must have been joking, right? Right? I can’t imagine anyone over the age of ten thinking of this as an idea of a good time. Did this woman work at the hospital?

  • Irenaeus G. Saintonge February 28, 2013, 3:57 am

    Seems like a pretty reasonable response to me, hospital or otherwise. The young woman wanted to do something completely selfish, which was going to negatively affect OP’s ability to go about her business.

  • Ally February 28, 2013, 4:05 am

    My immediate thought is that you were in a hospital and based on her comment it’s possible either that this woman had some level of mental disability of illness or wasn’t being serious and was herself stressed or upset and saying something like “I want to hide from everything”. Considering that you weren’t on the elevator with her and that the receptionist was in a better position of dealing with her or knowing whether the person would actually do it, you probably shouldn’t have said anything.

  • Marozia February 28, 2013, 5:28 am

    I can understand a young child (8 & under) doing this sort of thing, but a young woman in her 20’s!
    At that age, she should’ve known better!! Just as well there were no emergencies that needed that elevator.
    I never thought I would say this, but ‘to heck with etiquette’. I would’ve said the same thing, Admin.

  • Green123 February 28, 2013, 7:02 am

    “Stress and grief make people say stupid things.”

    I don’t think what the OP said was ‘stupid’ in the slightest, Admin.

  • Angela February 28, 2013, 7:39 am

    Wow. I have a 9-year-old kid with Down syndrome who would happily ride the elevator all day, but I’d never let him push all the buttons. Even if you’re in a store or office, it’s inconsiderate to delay everyone. In a hospital? No way.
    I hope the woman was kidding.

  • PM February 28, 2013, 7:46 am

    While the wording was definitely rude, I certainly understand the OP’s response. For a woman in her twenties, that was a completely asinine thing to say (if she really intended to do it and wasn’t kidding around.) Elevators are not toys and to tie one up indefinitely while you play around in it, especially in a hospital setting, is inconsiderate to the point of cruelty.

    While the circumstances are not quite the same (not as dire), I have seen a similar situation. Two years ago, I went to a conference with my employer in a major city. There were 1,200 medical professionals with our group. There were more than 40 floors in the conference center/hotel. We happened to be there at the same time as an educational conference that involved 400 middle school students, some sort of leadership conference. The chaperones for that group were outnumbered, four kids to one adult, and they clearly considered this to be a vacation for them. They sat in the lobby bar having coffee and cocktails while the kids ran amok in the hotel.*

    While the kids dropping food on our group from upper floors of the atrium and literally ransacking our buffets en masse before our group could eat the meals we paid for was annoying, the worst part was the elevators. There was a bank of eight elevators servicing the entire hotel. And the kids would get into the elevators and either joy ride or push every button and then run out. Seeing huge groups of people standing outside the lobby elevator doors while they waited for the elevators to come down was a common sight. Our group members would be almost an hour late for the morning conference sessions sometimes because they simply couldn’t get a ride down to the conference rooms. (And walking down 20 or more flights of stairs was not appealing.) Our group members eventually learned not to go back to their rooms for ANYTHING or they may not be able to make it back down for the sessions they wanted.

    The hotel staff tried to control the kids and protect our group’s buffets, but they were simply overrun. While we appreciated their efforts, we told the hotel management that we would not return to the hotel as scheduled the next year if the educational group was booked at the same time. The management understood and refused to host them again.

    *After an entire plate’s worth of breakfast food was dropped on our registration desk from three floors up (open atrium), I went to the chaperones sitting in the lobby to complaint about the students behavior. They basically said, “What do you expect us to do? They’re just kids. We can’t control them.”

    When we wrote letters to the educational group’s headquarters (at least 100 of us did) we received emails in return that basically said, “What do you expect? They’re just kids!”

    If I’d been a parent of one of those kids and found out that was how my child was “supervised” in a huge conference center in a major US city, I would be furious.

  • PM February 28, 2013, 8:08 am

    Ack, sorry, small math mistake. There were 800 people in our group for a total of 1,200 people at conferences in the hotel. Not sure why I added that up in my head while writing.

  • clairedelune February 28, 2013, 8:08 am

    This is so bizarre to me…did she say this as if she actually intended to go do it, right then? Or just sort of an idle wish, like “I want to eat the biggest ice cream sundae in the world,” or something like that?

  • Abby February 28, 2013, 8:39 am

    The story didn’t make any sense to me either. Why would any woman want to do this? And was she actually going to do it? I think OP overreacted, because it appears that at that point, OP had already gotten off the elevator and would not be affected by the whims of this woman, the woman just said she “wanted” to do it, not that she was going to do it, and finally, this woman sounds like she’s not all there. I think OP was rude, and ignoring her and turning to the reception desk to ask where she could find her friend would have been a better use of her time rather than dressing down a complete stranger for being selfish.

  • Saucygirl February 28, 2013, 8:39 am

    I agree with ally. As the op says, this is 10p at a hospital. The lady doesn’t sound like she is an employee, which means she is either there as a patient or a visitor to someone that she is close enough to to warrant being there at 10p at night. She most likely had her own issues that she was dealing with. Admins comment about stress and grief making people say stupid things could probably be just as easily applied to the lady.

  • Lo February 28, 2013, 8:40 am

    The wording may have been rude but I’m A-OK with the sentiment.

    I don’t think it’s the issue of how old she is so much as that this is a BAD place to be mucking around that way. You don’t hold up elevators in a hospital– how stupid can you be? No one in their right mind would let their children do that. No adult should even consider giving into the whim.

  • Yarnspinner February 28, 2013, 8:45 am

    @PM this was a “leadership” conference for those kids? Don’t think I would have wanted any of them doing any kind of leadership project for me. The chaperones were beyond lazy. RAeminds me of the summer reading programs we used to offer where local day camps would bring in groups of ten to thirty kids and let them run amok while the counselors made out or slept. They were mad as all get out when we called their supervisors to come and see what they were up to.

    @OP, I am so sorry for you and your friend. As for the young lady, I would like to believe that what she was expressing a desire to run away from whatever stress was going on in her life at that moment. Unfortunately, I have lived just long enough to know these days everyone else’s wishes, no matter how selfish are always more important than everyone else’s.

  • Lo February 28, 2013, 8:48 am

    PM– that’s absolutely infuriating. I would have been tempted to add to that email one of my favourite quotes ever, from Irene Hunt’s, Up a Road Slowly. “Next time let’s leash your brats, shall we?”

    If they’re just kids they shouldn’t be allowed to go anywhere unsupervised. Freedom of movement is for adults and those who can behave themselves. The level of irresponsibility guardians/parents/champerones display in public is appalling sometimes.

  • sstabeler February 28, 2013, 8:57 am

    OP was fine to say that. the girl who wanted to amuse herself by making the elevator stop on each floor was being deliberately cruel ( if you’re visiting someone at the hospital out of normal visiting hours, then the logical conclusion is you can’t during normal visiting hours- could well be visiting someone who is dying. A delay due to some jerk paying with the elevator could therefore result in someone missing the patient’s last moments. Being harsh with someone making that more likely is absolutely justified.

  • qsaysha February 28, 2013, 9:03 am

    It sounds to me like the 20 year old was also having a very stressful day and wishfully stated the idea of just having some alone time to decompress; It wasn’t like she actually pushed the buttons. In the writer’s haste to assume the worse, she may have made someone else’s bad day even worse.

  • sv February 28, 2013, 9:08 am

    Whether it was an idle passing fancy or an actual plan of action, it was a stupid and thoughtless thing to say while standing before strangers in an ICU unit. Common sense dictates that you show a certain level of decorum in such an environment. That being said, even as late as my 20’s I sometimes said and did some pretty stupid things – hopefully she learned from the experience.

    @PM – your story sounds awful. AWFUL. I can’t believe you had to deal with that!!! And you are right – as a parent, I would have lost it to find out that my child was supervised in such a fashion.

  • another Laura February 28, 2013, 9:19 am

    @ green123, I believe admin was referring to the 20-something’s comment as stupid, not OP’s.

    @pm, even at 4 kids to 1 adult, you would think 100 adults could corral 400 kids. Still better odds than at school. Do you know, were the chaperones teachers, parents or a mix? The hotel should charge that school system a heavy fine for damage done. Even if hotel property wasn’t damaged, their reputation sure was. Perhaps if the schools were held financially responsible for keeping the students in line, they would find a way to do so. My husband is a special ed teacher, has taken his students on many field trips, with less adult to student ratio than 4 to 1, and he never had problems that bad.

  • Cat February 28, 2013, 9:33 am

    People say and do the most inappropriate things at the most inappropriate times. I was at my mother’s wake and was crying quietly to myself. An unknown woman marched over to me and inquired, “Were you related?” I was able to prevent myself from replying, “Oh, no. I was just passing the funeral home and thought I’d run in and cry for awhile. Nothing on TV tonight, you know.”
    Another well-meaning but clueless woman came over and informed me that I was being selfish for crying as I should be happy that my mother was now in Heaven.
    My first thought was that she evidently didn’t know Mother very well. Secondly, I nearly inquired of this paragon of religious knowledge if Jesus was in error for crying at the tomb of Lazarus. It’s the shortest sentence in the Bible, “Jesus wept.” You don’t meet too many people who can out-Christian Jesus Christ.

  • yokozbornack February 28, 2013, 9:34 am

    I think the OP was out of line and should have let the receptionist deal with it if indeed there was anything to deal with. I doubt the woman had any intention of doing what she said. It sounds to me like she might have been stressed out and was thinking of a way to escape for a while. There have been times when I am overwhelmed by emotion that I want to do something unreasonable like throw something. I don’t do it, but even saying it offers a momentary escape. She probably had a loved one in ICU, too, and the OP’s verbal jab was unnecessary. The fact that the OP had a loved one in ICU doesn’t give her a right to be rude no more than it gave the young woman in question the right to joyride the elevator.

  • Brian Katcher February 28, 2013, 9:40 am

    I got the impression that the woman was just making asinine conversation, and that the OP’s point was that a hospital elevator is neither the time nor the place.

  • Bint February 28, 2013, 9:47 am

    Ally, given the OP didn’t say anything about this woman seeming odd or at all upset, what are the chances really that she was ill/stressed as opposed to just stupid? It’s tiresome seeing people picking out scenarios that the odds are stacked against, just to get at an OP. The woman said something very stupid and announced she wanted to do something irresponsible. The OP told her off – not politely, but that was understandable in the circumstances.

    How is this wrong? How is it better for the OP to say nothing and take the much more likely chance of that woman playing about in the lift in a hospital?

    No, we cannot know everything in a situation, but we can gauge what’s likely and use our common sense. This is exactly what the OP did.

  • Helen February 28, 2013, 10:00 am

    I’m apt to side with the commenter who suggested she had a mental illness, as what adult in her right mind would enjoy getting in an elevator and having it stop at every floor?

    How obnoxious of her.

  • whatever February 28, 2013, 10:03 am

    It occurs to me that the young lady might have been a visitor to the ICU as well and was simply stressed. I think it was good of the OP to remind her that you still shouldn’t do things that pointlessly inconvenience other people.

  • Shannan February 28, 2013, 10:10 am


    Admin wasn’t saying that what the OP said was stupid. She was referring to what the early 20’s woman child said.

  • Leighanna February 28, 2013, 10:11 am

    “a young adult female, I’m guessing in her early 20?s, standing to the side of the desk announces to me, my husband and the receptionist that she wants to get on the elevator, push every floor button and ride the elevator up and down for an undetermined period of time”

    Not even and idle wish. But maybe said in the same way a tired mom who is dealing with a screaming toddler would say she wanted to pull her out. It’s very possible the young woman had been there for hours with a dying family member or friend. Maybe it had been a long day for her, she was there alone and all she could think about was getting the heck out of there but couldn’t. So tired, frustrated and stressed she makes this statement to anyone who would listen, needing someone to hear her. If that was truly the case then the OP was cruel.

    Admin is right. Stress and grief make people say stupid things. But in this case I believe it was the OP. Maybe the OP was on her way to possibly say “good bye” to someone who is teetering on the brink of death but so were a lot of other people in the ICU waiting room. She had only been there for a few seconds and in that time determined that the woman was acting like child without knowing anything about her or what she was dealing with. From what I have read the OP comes across as “my pain is more important than anyone else here.” I think she was rude and cruel.

  • Surianne February 28, 2013, 10:20 am

    It sounds to me like she was just joking? I’m not sure why the OP felt the need to tell her off so rudely.

  • Treeang February 28, 2013, 10:22 am

    I was wondering if she had just received bad news and just wanted to escape for a bit. Still weird, but understandable in your time of grief…wanting to run away and not have to face the reality of your situation. I remember when a family member died unexpectedly wanting to run circles around the parking lot screaming at the top of my lungs.

  • Jewel February 28, 2013, 10:31 am

    When people make incredibly asinine statements or engage in activities that show they have zero comprehension of appropriate behavior, we do no favors to society by maintaining silence or reacting in a subtle manner (a grimace, a lifted eyebrow, etc). Such reactions only tend to be considered tantamount to approval by the ignorant. Sometimes, people like this 20-something twit just need a “clue by four”, so I applaud the OP’s reaction. Who knows how many hospital visitors she saved from annoyance, panic, or anguish by her straight-forward response? And, it’s possible that the OP’s statement has resonanted with this girl in other areas of her life, thereby saving many more people from suffering distress at her hands.

    I only wish how the OP had mentioned the girl’s reaction. I’m visualizing a dropped jaw and shocked expression although I can also visualize a sneer with a flounce as she stalks away to pout in a corner.

  • Snarkastic February 28, 2013, 10:33 am

    I kind of saw the young woman’s announcement as her reaction to the stress. After all, she was in the
    ICU, as well. It kind of sounded like an idle thought, like “I just want to run out those doors and never come back!”

  • whatever February 28, 2013, 10:44 am

    wow, not that i had ever had the desire to do that and was mortified for holding people up when i pressed a wrong button by accident, i can see how some kids may find that funny. on a slow day in the mall where the elevaters right next to the one are more than able to handle the shoppers. but in a crowded hotel or a hospital? the nerve of some people…

    PM, i wonder why the hotel didn’t at least attempt to solve the elevator problem. for example let two of the elevators only open on the floors the students live on and four only on the floors your group used, or put security persons on in front of the elevators in the student’s floors and the lobby and make sure they only use two elevators, leaving the rest to the other residents.

    also, the nerve of those teachers! i would have sent the most disruptive students home as an example to the others.

  • Daisy February 28, 2013, 10:55 am

    I don’t think it matters whether this young woman was seriously contemplating riding the elevator, or only expressing a wish that she could. Her comment was insensitive and inappropriate in either case. There are times and places where it is intrusive and hurtful to engage your mouth before putting your brain in gear, and after hours in an intensive care waiting room tops the list.

  • Joni February 28, 2013, 11:03 am

    I’m with Ally on this one. It could be that the young woman also had a loved one in the ICU (I’d say this is likely considering you were there after hours) and was expressing a desire to get away from the world for a little while, perhaps as a coping mechanism. If the OP’s grief and stress excuses using a mild profanity towards this woman, surely this woman’s grief and stress excuses expressing a desire to use the elevator as a hideaway.

  • Patti February 28, 2013, 11:06 am

    Yes, I would have said somthing too. Probably like No, I don’t think so. So how old are you. ?

    Another problem, Why are you visiting after hours especially 10 at night. You do say a long day to get there, and friend in ICU, but really she needed her rest, and I do think the nurse should have told you, No, Come back tomorrow. Please don’t do that again when visiting in the hospital again.

  • Eppie February 28, 2013, 11:12 am

    Based on the fact that the young woman also seemed to be visiting someone in ICU, I would be willing to bet her stress level was high and she was looking for some kind of escape – something that effectively traps you away from the situation at hand (the sick friend or relative in ICU). I think it would be appropriate to point out how her plan might inconvenience others, but I don’t think she was trying to be a pain.

  • technobabble February 28, 2013, 11:24 am

    When I went to post-secondary (in the mid-2000’s), the business students’ building was an 8-storey tower that had been built when my school was first constructed in the early 1960’s. There were many of us business students, and only 4 (old, rickety) elevators to carry us up and down to our various floors and classrooms. Lucky for me, most of my classes were usually only separated by a floor or two so I could take the stairs, but in my first semester I had a class on the first floor, and 5 minutes to get to my next class on the sixth floor. 90% of the time, after waiting among the hoards of students milling about the elevator, and cramming into a car with a number of my peers which I am sure was beyond its carrying capacity, some genius would have pushed every button, making the elevator stop at floors no one needed. These were the longest elevator rides ever. I quickly learned that taking the stairs would always get me to class on time, and gave me a good mid-morning workout as a bonus.

    The moral of my story is: If given the chance, some 20-somethings will gladly screw around with elevator buttons if given the chance, so OP was in the right on calling this girl out on her professed desire.

  • Ashley February 28, 2013, 11:43 am

    Wow, I would have been sorely tempted to say something similar. And this is one thing I wouldn’t count as stupid. Not only was she being a pain to you, she was being a pain to anyone who might have come in after you or any of the nurses trying to do their jobs.

    I’m happy I’ve never experienced anyone elevator joy riding, or wanting to. My brothers and I got yelled at for doing it once at a wedding when we were very young and after that we realized why not to do it any more. I’d like to note that no one was trying to use the elevator at the time, but still….I feel horrible about it now.

  • Saucygirl February 28, 2013, 12:52 pm

    Bint, I agree that we should use common sense and the info give to gauge reasonable possibilities. Info given was that it was 10p at night at a hospital. It was long past visiting hours so you either had to have been there for a while or gone through the steps that the op outlined to get onto a secure elevator to get to a secure floor where the op says you have to again check in. Based on all the info provided, Which shows significant time and/or effort had to be given to be there, i think it is very reasonable of ally to assume that the person was there as either a patient or another stressed and tired visitor. This wasn’t an elevator at the mall.

  • NostalgicGal February 28, 2013, 1:16 pm

    Many rounds of elevator asinines at various theme conventions I was at… I think I’ve seen it all including the attendees managing to set off a whole floor’s sprinker system, soaking an elevator and it has phantom floor stops (one place had 22 floors and after that one, one of the elevators had four floors it thought it had to stop at on the way up and the way down). If they didn’t have one or more of the elevators end up being out of service at the time the convention was done… I had stayed there the extra day so after everyone cleared out on Sunday… Monday morning dawned a nice quiet business person’s hotel…. so totally different…. and the elevator repair people showed up with a few trucks and vans to fix things. (If that con didn’t fill that barn on a hard to book anybody weekend, they wouldn’t have put up with that convention for that many years)

    As for the youth convention, that was totally uncalled for. Anything over the age of starting school can behave as well. I certainly would have complained to the hotel management, to the youth organization, and if there was a parent organization or major sponsor to the youth group, complain to them too.

    Elevators are equipment to function correctly and serve their purpose, not entertainment for the idle masses. If she has such stress, she could step off, usually hospitals have a number of quiet waiting areas and even a chapel. You don’t have to pray, you can just sit there, it’ll be quiet and you won’t be disturbed.

  • Daphne February 28, 2013, 1:18 pm

    I commend the OP saying something to the clueless 20 year old, as my brother did something similar and I wish someone would have stopped him:
    My mother was in and out of hospitals for at least 10 years before she died. She was seriously ill each and every time with various stages of heart disease and cancer. One evening we were visiting her after a surgery and suddenly my 32 year old brother and his 33 year old fiance’ burst into the room, out of breath saying “I won! No you didn’t, I won! No!! I WON!”
    Turns out they had a “race” from the parking lot up to my mom’s room on the third floor of a 4 story hospital. We were appalled.
    For the record my brother is ex- military and his fiance’ was college educated with an office job. So…for all of you who assume “adults” would never behave abhorrently in a setting like an ICU, you couldn’t be more wrong.

  • Debra February 28, 2013, 1:22 pm

    I agree that the young woman probably was severely stressed and wanted to escape it. She was also in the ICU ward for heaven’s sakes. She might be losing someone near to her and having difficulty processing it. Elevators are like in between spaces; when you’re in one, you’re moving towards a destination but not there yet and you don’t have to act or think, just stand and wait. The floor will still be there, the good or bad news can’t reach you until you depart the elevator. If you stay in the elevator, maybe the bad news will never touch you.

  • amyasleigh February 28, 2013, 1:51 pm

    Perhaps I’m a wet-and-permissive liberal bearing a lot of responsibility for what’s wrong in society today; but I’m in the camp of those posters who favour cutting the young woman some slack, because she could imaginably have been suffering stress and grief herself, and thus not at her most in-command-of-self; and she only expressed what she felt that she’d like to do — didn’t actually do it. I fall on that side of the line, rather than the “verbally nuke-and-devastate the idiots who say such things” side. (OP’s reaction understandable, but IMO no more praiseworthy than the remark which prompted it.) I find it hard to believe that there’s anyone on earth who has never — including post-age-20 — said, in public, something very foolish and ill-advised: see no entitlement for any of us, to be highly ready to sit in harsh judgement.

  • Calli Arcale February 28, 2013, 2:46 pm

    another Laura:
    “Perhaps if the schools were held financially responsible for keeping the students in line, they would find a way to do so.”

    A local school in my metropolitan area recently discontinued attendance at an annual leadership conference because of appalling behavior by the students — which even included alcohol finding its way into student rooms. I don’t know if it’s the same group (it could actually be), but schools do find a way. In this case, it was by saying that okay, you’re not going on this trip again. Not for several years. The parents (many of whom had chaperoned the event in question) were furious that their kids would miss out on this event the next year, but a message had to be sent that this was beyond unacceptable.

  • PM February 28, 2013, 3:25 pm

    @another Laura. It was a mix of parents and teachers. From what I could gather, the students had earned their trip to the conference through activities at their individual schools.

    @Whatever, I’m not sure. I did feel sorry for the hotel staff. They did everything they could to make up for the kids’ behavior, often scrambling to undo the damage the kids did. For instance, when we set up a snack table (clearly marked with signs as being for our members) between conference sessions and the kids swarmed the table, devouring everything before our members even saw it, the catering manager (who saw the whole thing) rushed to replace everything on the table immediately.

    But honestly, they couldn’t make the kids behave, particularly if the chaperones didn’t care enough to do so.

  • MaRiley February 28, 2013, 3:31 pm

    I don’t expect my comment will be received well; but I would have suggested that Security be called. Diddling around with hospital elevators isn’t a stress reliever.

  • Allie February 28, 2013, 3:51 pm

    In my view, the OP’s response was neither rude nor inappropriate. Any harshness was entirely mitigated by the circumstances. Had I been the receptionist, I would have called security to come and deal with the young woman. If a visitor, she should have been escorted out of the premises. If a patient, perhaps a psychiatric consultation would be in order.

  • Lilac February 28, 2013, 4:19 pm

    @PM I am interested to know what kind of leadership group those kids were! I have brought my GS troop to events and work with 4-H and have never seen anything like that. Evidently the adults in charge should have attended the conference first. I do have to say that it is up to the hotel to set the tone for it’s other guests though. If they had reacted immediately by telling the adult chaperones that they would have to leave if the behavior continued, banned them from the buffet, and then started adding damage and nuisance charges I bet the nonsense would have ended very quickly. Having to fork out unexpectedly for a couple hundred McDonalds breakfasts would have done the trick.

    I just have to say that I’ve stayed in hotels with large groups of kids and have been amazed at how great things have gone. Maybe it’s just Robotics kids but they have been awesome. And we are talking about hundreds of kids. The hotel my son’s group stayed in two years ago told them the robotics teams staying there would be welcome back anytime. And the conference center that FIRST Robotics used in my city said they were the best behaved group of kids they have ever had at an event–and this was a three day event involving nerds, robots, and power tools. I don’t know what it is that makes a difference–some kind of magic between mentors, organizers, the venue, and the kids but I think it happens more often than not for all types of groups. We hear about the bad behavior but most kids know how to behave and most adults make them tow the line. Maybe with robot kids it’s just because they are all nerds 🙂 They have the inner serenity of knowing nerdiness is best lol.

  • Joni February 28, 2013, 5:01 pm

    I wonder if OP’s (and our) perception of this young woman is colored by her age? What if it had been a 60-something woman instead of a 20-something one, would we all be so quick to label her as a “twit” or blame all the ills of society on her?

  • Stacey Frith-Smith February 28, 2013, 6:15 pm

    I agree with Ally. There is no upside to her proposal to play on the elevator. But a hospital is indeed a place where fatigue, grief, stress and anxiety can make us all feel like we are a few french fries short of a Happy Meal. Best to zip the lip and get on with your own business, because you really don’t know all the particulars of the other person’s issues. You were perfectly correct to be alarmed and outraged at the thought of how her proposal would affect you and others. The issue came when you decided that you needed to “set her straight”. It’s unlikely, but certainly possible, that your quip will form part of the flotsam surrounding her own recollection of trauma. Why risk it?

  • Lynne February 28, 2013, 6:40 pm

    I agree that this was no biggie. It seems to me as if the young woman (who may have been early 20’s — or who may have been an older teenager — we really don’t know) was probably distraught and in some way seeking an audience to awkwardly share that distress.

    As this story is written, she was hanging out by the desk voicing a wish to do something — not indicating that she would actually do it. It sounds like an immature way of trying to cope with her emotions by soliciting attention from whoever happened to be nearby.

    That said, I don’t think the OP’s response was terribly inappropriate either.

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