For the record, I prefer taking the stairs to riding an elevator – when my destination is just a floor or two away.
Also for the record, I believe in kindness. I try to make eye contact and smile at strangers when in public places. And when I’m taking the elevator I (gasp) talk to the other occupants.
“What floor?” is the easy question when standing near the control panel and someone gets on the elevator.
The weather can be a good topic – especially when carrying an umbrella.
Remarking on what is being carried might work.
There are generally three reactions:
- Being ignored, sometimes preceded by a glance that says “you’re crazy.” A cell phone in hand makes it really easy for the other to ignore you.
- Politeness even if a bit uncomfortable. People raised with any kind of manners will give at least a half a smile and a simple response.
- Engagement, maybe with enthusiasm. This response is my favorite.
“What floor?” the lady asked.
“Five,” we replied.
“Winner, winner chicken dinner!” she said.
“Are you cooking?” I asked.
She wasn’t sure about making fried chicken. But told us she worked in a bakery and could certainly whip up something sweet.
The conversation didn’t last long. It happened at least a month ago. But it still makes me smile.