Everyone has a couple of experiences that s/he would look back on and think ‘that was a crazy one’. Thinking about it alone sends chills down the spine not to talk of exactly how it felt when it actually happened. Some few years back my first job after National Service, I was working with a call center and that means you could not miss the shift system; morning, day, evening or night shift. Ghana was going through the very upsetting blackout phase; ‘dumsor’ in its early stages. You will dread it if the weather was hot and you were in a room. Night shift comes with its good sides especially when your ‘squad’ was in it. You would want to surround yourself with people who will motivate you to work and anytime you were faced with a situation, turn to for a word or two. Another good thing about it was how less busy it could get especially when it was off-peak, the calls will dwindle and you will have all the time to share hot gossips and get on the internet (if you were picking calls all the time, you will appreciate this feeling) and last but very important, a bus to take you home after work. On this fateful day, 00:00HRS, time to go home. The bus is waiting downstairs. Everyone rushing(mini-rush-hour) and I take my sweet time, get in the elevator with two other colleagues and though I would be only descending 4-story stairs, a better option will be to take the elevator as most of my colleagues will have made it to the bus by now. Two floors down and boom. Blackout! How did I know? Wait for it; The elevator comes to a stop and lights go off. Oh my Gosh, this can’t be happening? Different thoughts rushing through my mind. No kidding my whole life flashes right before me(then again, why is it that during such periods only bad thoughts come to mind and they’re like thousands)Try thinking positive don’t worry you will come right back with negative thoughts. What if the lights did not come back soon? How were our bodies going to be found, how slow was our death going to be? My other two colleagues panicking already and I’m like I will not be moved, I’m staying calm. In situations like this, I know it’s best not to panic meanwhile one of my colleagues is freaking out. Repeating in my head, ‘don’t panic; don’t panic’ like over and over again.
We managed to make a call to a colleague for rescue. Before then, a recent story had broken of a pregnant woman who got stuck in the elevator and how she had started suffocating when help had finally arrived. All these flashes running through my head was not helping. The standby security man had closed or something. Trust me that elevator was old, no emergency button. We decided we should see if we can jump down from the floor we were at so we proceeded to open the door, we were thrown to a horrifying state of stupor all in one because in sliding the door what was an engine-like side of the machine was revealed. This made me break down. After a few minutes, we heard a colleague’s voice calling out for us and we all responded in unison ‘we’re here’! Alas, help was here! We were going to be rescued. The scary door was forced open with a thick log (I am sure was saved for such purposes) on a count of one, two, three, from a caretaker and our colleague who had gone for the help. We realized we were almost on the second floor. With the help of my friend, we were helped to jump down and landed at the entrance of the second floor. How relieved we felt, all three of us started recounting how horrified we were etc. I think I was shaking a little but my composed nature did not give me away. In my mind, I knew I was not going to say it at home that night because I knew the drama which was to unfold. I knew of the decision I took the subsequent days; not to take the elevator and I finding solace in the fact that climbing the stairs to the fourth floor every day was a form of exercise even if I got to my destination all panting (who was I kidding)? Also, I was going to advise all my friends to avoid elevators when they had the chance and scrutinize the state of buildings i.e. if they were modern with standby generators before taking the elevator. My appreciation of life was up the radar, I mean the journey home that night was one of solitude and reflecting on how my narrow escape from ‘death’ was like, how grateful I was to God, and how I was going to put this story to writing someday.