The Sydenham Community Campus is a bustling hive of activity each day as we organise our clients for their regular programs and activities. On Thursday, May 2,2017, the day started just like any other with lots of laughter and chatter, particularly from the Kangan Institute group. Each Thursday we are usually in the taxi by 9.30am and look forward to our cooking class at Kangan Institute, facilitated by Jude, our teacher there.
As usual, our clients were happy listening to their teacher and ready to make pizza for the afternoon’s session. As lunchtime came around, we decided to go down in the lift to the Cafeteria, and we told Jude we would meet her down there.
As we got into the lift we were chatting away to even notice that at any moment we would have an experience that we wouldn’t forget for a very long time. Once we were in the lift, we pressed the button, and then a second later, there was a jolt and the lift stopped. We initially thought we pressed the stop button but soon realised that we were actually stuck.
Suddenly, what we pressed or didn’t press made no difference. Fortunately, there was an emergency button and we called for help. We then proceeded to call Jude, who was now doing all she could to help us. We eventually got hold of help and advised us someone would be with us shortly.
In the meantime, we checked to see if we had enough water to drink to keep us cool, and that helped us feel more relaxed.
We had to make the most of the situation and remain positive. While we waited, we started to sing and tell jokes. The clients were amazing singing along and laughing. However, there was a point where everyone was getting a little anxious but once they put it aside, they all started feeling upbeat again.
It started to get hot and we were already 40 minutes stuck in the lift. Just at that moment one of the clients saw some light. It was the technician opening the doors to give us fresh air. However, as we were stuck between floors, we still couldn’t get out. We had to close the doors again so he could continue to repair the lift.
Once again, we were back to telling stories. I was truly amazed how everybody coped and their attitude in such a difficult situation. After an hour and a half passed, the doors opened again but the technician still couldn’t get the lift working.
At this point, we decided we could climb out, otherwise we would waiting for several more hours. We had a metre’s space to get out through the ceiling of the lift and the technician provided us with a stool and one by one we climbed out.
The last two clients were a little afraid of getting on the chair and climbing out but I was able to help lift them up while Jude and the technician on the other end to support them.
Once we were out, we all hugged each other. Feeling famished, we went for lunch, and enjoyed a welcome bowl of soup.
Overall, the clients showed great strength in a difficult situation and their courage shone. Their reaction and smiles made it a lifting experience.