If you're like the rest of us, however, you've probably encountered more than a few elevator passengers who seemed, shall we say, behind the proverbial sliding doors when the rules of Elevator Etiquette 101 were handed out long ago. Without further delay -- and I'll make it quick because you have to make an elevator pitch in a few minutes! -- here are the 10 Elevator Passengers Most Likely To Press Your Buttons:
1. Passengers who block the entryway. You'd like to exit the elevator, but there's a scrum of people standing right outside the doors blocking your way. Perhaps you're trying to get on the elevator, but there are passengers blocking your way just inside the doors. Sheesh. Pro Tip: While waiting for an elevator, never stand in front of the doors so passengers may exit. After boarding an elevator, never stand just inside the doors so new passengers may enter. Always stand to the side, or move to the back, freeing up the center. And if Miranda Priestly is boarding the elevator, well, you already know what to do.
2. Passengers who block the buttons. Standing next to, or directly in front of, the elevator buttons entails a certain level of responsibility. That being, as the well-mannered person standing closest to the buttons, you are tasked with asking other riders where they are going and kindly pressing that button for them. Otherwise, they may have to invade your personal space to press their desired floor number. Just ask them already, because it's the nice thing to do!
3. Passengers who talk too much. Your ride from the underground parking garage was blissful and quiet -- until you reached the lobby and two Chatty Cathies from the 20th floor boarded and immediately kept over-sharing jaw-dropping details from their personal lives. Then there's the harried professional who walks in talking loudly on his or her cell phone, until the call gets disconnected because you're riding together inside a metal box. Time is money, but self-awareness is priceless.
4. Passengers who let it rip. You're silently riding along, when...oh, wow, it suddenly smells like rancid broccoli in here! You can't get to your floor fast enough as you breathe through your mouth. You entertain yourself by trying to guess which fellow passenger let loose mid-floor. Why is the guy in the back smiling like that? Hmm...
5. Passengers who let the doors close. This is the passenger who sees you making a run for the elevator and -- denied! The doors close right before you reach them. Bummer. Sure, this person could have helped you out by holding the door open, but this Greta Garbo of the elevator world wants to ride alone. Someday, you'll get the elevator all to yourself, too. Living the dream.
6. Passengers who let small children press the buttons. Allowing a preschooler to press the elevator buttons can be a teachable moment, but working professionals could run late waiting for pint-sized Olivia to find 12. And 9. And 2. Then Olivia swipes aaaalll the lower buttons at once. Ugh! Don't get me wrong, Millennial parents: Your kid is as cute as a button, but nobody wants to get stuck between floors because Aidan managed to press the wrong button. The nervous passenger in the back will quietly appreciate your parental gate-keeping skills since he's already 12 minutes late to a meeting, and counting.
7. Passengers who complain the elevator is too slow. This passenger is compelled to point out how slowly (or quickly) the elevator is moving, possibly comparing this elevator ride to the smoothest, most awesome elevator ride he (and it's usually a he) has ever taken. "Wow, this thing is jerky and slow, isn't it? Have you ever ridden the elevators at...?" To his credit, this fellow passenger is usually a very friendly, engaging sort of person with a nice smile.
8. Passengers who seem to be contagious. This fellow passenger sneezes without covering his mouth and wipes his runny nose with his index finger. Then he kindly volunteers to press a button for someone entering the elevator. Oh, no. It makes you wonder: Is it allergies, a cold, the flu, or something else? And will you be next, considering how we're all standing together in close quarters? Unfortunately, you can't hold your breath until you reach your destination. Maybe the stairs aren't so bad after all.
9. Passengers who get on the wrong elevator. You're going down when a new passenger suddenly blurts out, "Wait! Is this elevator going down?" in a semi-irritated tone of voice. A few passengers nod, or simply glance up at the lighted "down" arrow located squarely over the elevator doors. This passenger grumbles all the way to the ground floor, or hits the button for the next floor and leaves the elevator in a huff. Hey, was it something we said?
10. Passengers who don't make way for the elderly. The elevator doors open, and everyone rushes to squeeze past the frail, cane-wielding senior citizen who boards slowly, and sometimes with great difficulty. I don't care how late you are. I don't care how busy you are. I don't care how important you think you are. Stand back and allow our senior citizens to enter and leave the elevator first, full stop. They have earned the right for the rest of us to wait a minute.*** Someday, if we're lucky, we'll earn the same courtesy from younger generations who grew up observing our good manners.
See? We can all make our elevator rides more enjoyable with a few simple, gracious changes. It's something to think about while we're waiting for the next elevator after someone aced us out. Again. And don't forget to hold the door!
*** I apologize greatly for my ranting tone, but it really bothers me whenever I see a senior citizen treated disrespectfully. /rant.