The ups and downs of lift operating

Yesterday I found myself helping out at an office event of a production company (where I was an intern for some time). Helping out in this case means answering the doorbell and using a card key to operate the lift and transport people between the ground floor and the floor where the event was taking place. Now I know if someone told you they did this for a living you would probably be like ‘oh…cool’ for lack of a better answer that successfully conceals how unimpressed you are with that person’s job. But you know what? It has actually been pretty fun. Perhaps because I did it for one night only. But anyway, here is my experience summed up:


  • Got a free beer
  • Got a free chocolate crepe after helping the catering lady move some equipment; Consuming chocolate is naturally something I enjoy but being offered chocolate makes my day. On this note I would like to take the opportunity to thank the random sushi delivery guy who gave me lindor on the street on valentine’s day.
  • I got to listen to some decent music ; the DJ seemed to be in a retro mood which took me back to my teenage years
  • ‘I see you are the only one here who has the power of levitation’ – Quote from possibly Italian guy in the lift.
  • ‘I am sorry but I always have to count people in the lift if I think that we are too close to the maximum limit’ – Guest who  actually proceeded to count. On two different occasions.
  • Got another free beer
  • ‘Hello, we are from potato’ – A few people actually said that, which led me to question my hearing capacity
  • ‘Are you Brazilian?’ – Heard this one about 10 times which brings Brazilian to the second place in my list of nationalities that people mistake me for
  • ‘May I say that you are the most beautiful lift operator I have met’ – Compliment I never thought I’d hear in this life
  • ‘No, we would like to see the manager’ – when I asked two guys if they were there for the party. Turned out to be the neighbours who were very sensitive about loud sounds. They proceeded to explain that a good night’s sleep is one of the things that the residents of Soho really take seriously. I don’t think I would choose to live in Soho if I really valued my sleep time.
  • Got another free beer which I initially refused but was eventually forced to drink.
  • -‘Is it raining outside?’
  • -‘No I am just terrified of lifts’- Then someone else asked him as soon as he got out of the lift. I don’t remember him answering anything
  • ‘Do you actually have to do this all night long?’ – A popular question among guests when they entered the lift
  • My use of English was tested when I had to point out where the cloakroom/coat rack was. I ended up prompting someone to leave his cloak in the coat room on the left. Then I faced the wall so no one could see me laughing at my own stupidity for like a minute. I believe the word ‘cloakroom’ is outdated and the use of it should be discouraged- since nobody is wearing cloaks anymore unless they study at Hogwards
  • Free Guinness World Records book by a guy who was leaving-he had two
  • -Is this what your job is for tonight?
  • -Yup
  • -How are you finding it?
  • -It has its ups and downs – Yes, I was waiting all night to say that.
  • ‘You are too good for this job’
  • Got a t-shirt with ‘CREW’written on it. Now I don’t need to buy a hat to pretend I am a sailor anymore. Not that I need to pretend, I was practically BORN in a boat.


  • Had to be standing near the door phone -is that how people call it?- all night long. I was so glad when I actually had to use the lift.
  • Couldn’t talk much to people I knew fearing that someone would ring the bell and I wouldn’t hear it and they would be left standing in the rain for ages hating my guts before even meeting me.
  • Had to greet people holding a bottle of beer. Which was cool with me but might have not looked so classy.
  • It was hard to understand what people told me occasionally because of the loud music. I employed the good old ‘smile and nod’ method that any non-native English speaker should be familiar with. Only fails when used as a response to questions that demand an answer other than ‘yes’.
  • My feet hurt. I refuse to blame my shoes, bought from a local Chinese shop in Athens. I have had clothes bought from similar places that lasted for years and brand clothes that lasted like…a month. Plus pretty much everything is made in China anyways.
  • Had to look for the bus stop for a while after I left. As I am not cool enough to own a smartphone I had to use the good old method of stop-by-stop bus tracking.