Help! Have you ever gotten lost on an elevator? My husband and I traveled a lot after retirement.  We’ve stayed in many hotels here in the  USA, and all over the world.  But last night, in a downtown Indianapolis hotel, we found ourselves riding up and down from floor to floor, constantly bypassing the floor we wanted.

Navigating a big city hotel elevator can be challenging for the elderly


Our room was on the 12th floor, so we pushed that button upon entering the elevator. .  Nothing happened.  The door opened again, , someone stepped inside, and the elevator  moved. .  Great, we were on way, stopping first on the 6th floor..  We waited patiently as it continued it’s journey, stopping at ll.  A woman got on, pushed a button, but after that, we felt ourselves going down until we were back to the lobby.  Several people got on, and we pushed 12 again.  The car went up and down, stopping  several times, but never on our floor.   We started to panic, because we were in a hurry to meet someone for dinner.

Finally, we were back in the lobby for the fourth time.  Just as I was preparing to get off and complain at the front desk, a fellow passenger patiently explained what was happening.  “Don’t you know,’ he said.  “You have to use your room key?”  Befuddled, we looked for a slot somewhere.  ‘No, no,” he laughed, “Just swipe your key on this little circle, before you punch in your floor.  Here, let me show you.”  He swiped his card, punched 12, the button lit up and we were on our way, at last.

I guess we looked like a couple of ignorant old fuddy duddies.  But to me, it was another example of ageism in our modern world.  Why weren’t we told about the  system when we checked in?  When the clerk handed us our room card/ key, why didn’t he mention that we should use it on the elevator?  An  instruction sheet wouldn’t have been a bad idea.  But lets face it, old folks  are an anomaly at big city hotels swarming with young chicks in miniskirts and no one over 40 in sight.

We met several young people for dinner, and asked them if this was the new norm.  Some—those who don’t travel much—said they’d never heard of  having to use your room key on an elevator.  But those who travel often for business were surprised we hadn’t known how to navigate in a hotel.  ” Of course,” they said, shaking their heads.  Didn’t  we see it as a security measure?  Well, yes we did.  The why of it was understandable.  It was just the how part that had left us adrift.

So, this is my tip for any octogenarian who hasn’t stayed in a hotel for awhile.  When you enter an elevator, look for a place to swipe your  room card before you punch in your floor.  Otherwise, you could end up lost on an elevator.

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