The Leonardo Club Hotel in Tiberias has the most unique, and smartest, elevators I have ever seen. There are no floor buttons inside the elevator; you select the floor you want from outside the elevator.
In the picture above, the lobby elevator bank was a typical “box canyon”, with elevator “A” on the left, “B” and “C” in front of you and “D” on the right. You select your floor from a key pad on the lobby wall, and your elevator is displayed on the LCD screen above the key pad. I pushed “4” and the screen told me to get on elevator “B”. Confusing at first, but very efficient; a computer program decides how many guests are going to the same floor and sends the elevator(s) accordingly, no stopping on several floors to unload a packed elevator.
But the 400 Ethiopians staying at the hotel, didn’t understand the instructions. When an elevator door opened, they all rushed on, but eventually ended up back in the lobby when the elevator didn’t stop at their floor. I was standing behind this mob for 15 minutes and realized I would never get an elevator unless I helped some of the Ethiopians get on the correct elevator.
After a few loads of Ethiopians followed my hand gestures and got onto an elevator that didn’t bring them back to the lobby, the remainder of the Ethiopians in the lobby started flocking around me like I was a rock star. To them, I was their elevator boy. I helped a few more groups get on.
I thought the rest of the group in the lobby got the idea, so I punched my own floor, “4” and it told me to get on “A”. The doors opened and I got on, several Ethiopians followed me on. When the doors closed I could see that this elevator was going to floors 2 and 4. Someone in the back said, “Seeks” and another one said “Seven”. I told them it was only going to 2 and 4. They said, “NO! Seeks!” and another said, “Seven!”
When the elevator stopped at 2, I got out and, holding my foot in the door, motioned for all of them to get out. Hesitant at first, they finally all got out … but one. While still holding my foot in the door I pushed 6 and 8 on the key pad and told them to wait for elevator “C”. Then I got back on the elevator. They tried to follow me but I put up my hand and said “NO!” and pointed to elevator “C”. So they stayed and I continued up to 4 … along with the little old man who refused to leave my side.
I got off at 4 and the man followed me. I asked him what floor he was on. He didn’t speak English, but he showed me his key envelope and it said he had a room on 8. I pushed 8 and told him to wait for elevator “B”. I waited with him until his elevator came, and I saw him on.
About twenty minutes later, I was going down to the dining room and pushed “1” for lobby and was told to get on “B”. When the elevator doors opened, the little old man was still in “B” with his luggage. He followed me into the dining room, where he found his tour group.
Thought for the Day: Do a good turn daily. Boy Scout Slogan
2 thoughts on “Ethiopian Rush”
This is such a great story!
The Ethiopians are very intent during their pilgrimage. I met many that were very pleasant, some very educated, and some obviously deprived of opportunity.