Posted by: r.m. | September 19, 2011

stuck in a corridor…

Today, the first day back at the university, included many of the usual components of the first day: technical problems, fellow faculty asking about each other’s summer, and, students popping into the office and giving hugs.

So far, so good, right?

By 3 pm, I decided it was time to leave and get some food in my system.  I left my office (in FHS, for fellow Balamadians), walked to the FOM building to take the elevator down to 2nd level Basement where I had parked my car.  I took the elevator down to B2. The back door of the elevator opened at B2 – I shrugged and walked out… into a corridor.  The corridor had two blue doors in front of the elevator, and then a door on either side of the corridor. The door on the left of the elevator opens into the garage, and the door on the right opens to the outside.  No problem, right?

Well, the thick glass door leading to the garage was locked, the two blue doors – possibly leading to the stairs – were locked – and the thick glass door leading to the outside was also locked. And the elevator door wouldn’t open again. It was stuck. [Yes, in response to the number of people who have asked me why I didn’t just go back up in the elevator: the elevator door wouldn’t open. It wouldn’t open again. It was malfunctioning.]

Oh well, I thought.  Let’s call my friends – whom I (fortunately) saw and talked with before taking the elevator.

Problem. No signal. None whatsover. I walked slowly throughout the small, narrow corridor and there was consistently no signal.

I screamed, yelled, and banged on all doors. No response from anyone.  Of course: this new building is quite soundproof. When we close our office doors, we can barely hear anyone outside our door, so how could anyone hear me in 2nd level basement.

There were barely any cars parked on this level, and the corridor wasn’t in front of any of the cars, so the chance that someone would see when he/she would leave was quite slim.  Most of the faculty had already left a few hours before.  It may be until morning before anyone sees me, if at best.

I was starting to get mad. and frustrated.

I banged on all four doors to make noise – hoping that the noise would somehow reach the upper floors and someone would wonder about the source of the noise.

Then I thought: wait, imagine this were a scene in a movie. There had to be a way out, right? I would not be spending the night in this corridor: I’m hungry, and the floor is too dirty.

the corridor - in which I was stuck between 4 locked doors and a closed elevator

[It could be worse, I thought to myself. There could be snakes. or cockroaches.]

So, I started to kick the glass door leading to the outside. One kick. Two kicks.  At the tenth+ kick, the glass cracked. A small crack. Hey! More kicks.  More cracks.  I worried then that the shattering glass could actually cut my feet, and then I’d be wounded and stuck.  Fortunately, it wasn’t the kind of glass that would cut; it was rather more like car glass.  So I kept on kicking.

I thought I would kick the glass out, and then crawl through the bottom half. It would take me at least another 30 minutes of kicking.  My right foot was starting to hurt.

Fortunately, I thought of a better idea.  I pushed the glass out with one hand, and, with the other hand, put my phone out in the hope of catching a signal. Caught it! Then I dialed my friend again (Thank you Maha K.!), and told her I was stuck in B2. She heard enough to know I was in trouble and said she’d be right there.

Another thirty minutes later, after my friends searched elevator shafts and even under my car and even entertained the idea that I had been abducted, they found me — in that dimly lit, barely visible, all locked corridor.

[During those thirty minutes, I knew I’d eventually be rescued so I took pictures of all the doors and the elevator door with my iPad.

Many thanks to my friends (Maha K and Karim C and Ziad N) for raising the call for help and getting the security folks to look for me as well.

And many thanks also to the Campers’ shoe for being so strong! Turns out high-heels can be good for you 😉

Now to write a letter to the administration at the university about this ridiculous “over-locking” and lack of safety.

All in all, an interesting way to greet the new academic year : – )



  1. welcome back to Balamand dr Rania.. This post made my evening

  2. All that happened after i ran into you in the FOM building when I was going to class? Talk about bad luck!!

  3. Firas, perhaps my luck was good. Had I not seen my friends before I got into the elevator I would not have known who to call.

  4. I could not stop reading this piece! Amazing description of the situation (as always)! I so want to hear it live and see your gestures 😀

  5. welcome back what a great way to squeeze back into the balamand life style

  6. Sounds like a very unnerving situation! Certainly made for an entertaining story though :).

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