“Ree, riddly, ree, I see something you don’t see…
And it is…
“Is it that truck?”
“Is it the car over there?”
“Would you give me a hint?”
“I see it with my ‘magic eyes’.”
“Well, now, that’s not fair, I don’t have magic eyes.”
“Sorry, gaampa. That’s too bad.”
I never really needed magic eyes – until last weekend.
We were winding down a family vacation that included: our daughter-in-law, her three kids, our daughter and her son, my wife’s sister, my wife and me – all on our way back to our respective homes. We were traveling with the older grandson. But at the airport last weekend, we were tired and not as careful as we should have been.
When I exited the elevator on the third floor with a backpack, a computer bag and a large rolling bag – I turned back to see my wife struggling with the carry-on roller bag. It got stuck at the elevator door and didn’t want to roll out. Add to this, a lady standing in front of the car because she was impatient for us to get out. Once my wife’s bag became free and she moved through, the elevator doors began to close.
All I heard was a scream – the kind that cuts through you all the way to your heart.
“Oh my God, Aiden! Stay in the elevator. We’ll get you!” As she made an attempt to pull the doors open - it was too late; she watched the car begin to lower with our 6 year old grandson alone and crying inside. Stuck inside, alone, on his way down.
She screamed through the crack of the doors, turned to me, “Go after him!”
Dropping bags as I moved toward the escalator. I ran… I ran…harder than I remember even when training for track in high school over 40 years ago. Nevermind - that I had fallen while on vacation and could barely stand upright, much less walk very well… I hit the escalator like a mad man – as I rounded the second floor, I saw the elevator door completely closed.
I jumped on the next set of moving stairs to see two people ahead of me, screaming as I neared them that I had a 6 year old grandson stuck alone in an elevator, they parted as if ordered by Moses and I passed through between them. I don’t even think I touched them. I’m not even sure that I touched the escalator steps themselves.
Rounding the bank of escalators at the first floor screaming all the way around: “I’m coming Aiden! I’m coming Aiden! I’m coming Aiden!” As I got around and could see the elevator, there he stood inside the door, his face beet red as he cried and a woman holding the door open, with her own children at her side.
I got to my grandson, shaking so hard that I don’t even remember if I thanked the woman at all. Pulling him from the elevator into a hug and then toward the escalator, all I could say was “I need to call grandma and let her know I have you.”
I pulled my cell phone from my pocket and looked at it for what seemed like minutes and could not remember how to even dial the number. I just kept thinking, “I need to call her…what do I do now?”
I finally was able to make the call, to my wife’s relieved sigh, “OK, good.”
After I hung up, I said “Did you hear me yelling that I was coming?”
I said, “Did that lady get on with you on the second floor?”
“No, she got on right there and said ‘Are you by yourself? Are you ok buddy?’ and I said ‘I lose my gaama - gaampa.’” As his tears welled up again I held him and we headed back up the escalator, I held his hand all the way up.
I could have gotten on the elevator and ridden back up, I could have caught the second elevator – I have no idea why I returned the same way I had come.
I thanked God that it was only a 3 floor elevator; that I was able to get to him quickly; that there weren’t a lot of people on the escalator when I was running for him.
Mostly I thanked him that – just for a moment – my magic eyes seemed to work.
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