Get On the Elevator

I was staying on the top floor of a large resort hotel on an island. I was going out for the evening as were many other guests. As I walked to the bank of elevators, I could see the area was full of guests dressed for an evening out. There was a lot of movement and as I got closer, I could see that they were all agitated and losing their patience. They were pacing and complaining about the slow elevators. Some were quite angry that they were going to miss their engagements.

This hotel had taken a novel approach with its elevators – each elevator was labeled with a specific destination. There was one elevator if you were going out for dinner, another if you were going to the theater, another if you were going to take a boat tour, and another if you were going shopping. There were many possibilities but each had its own elevator. People had to know where they were going before they chose an elevator.

This evening none of the elevators to the popular destinations were working. My fellow guests were getting perturbed … they would be late for their engagements. I was about to panic myself when I realized something they were all missing. I tried telling them but they were so agitated that they didn’t grasp what I was saying.

An elevator came for a destination none of us wanted. It was certainly not in my plan for the evening but I jumped on and motioned for the others to join me. None of them would because it wasn’t going where they wanted to go. The elevator doors shut and in a few seconds, I arrived at the main lobby level and took off for my original destination.

What I had realized and tried to tell the others was that all elevators, regardless of their labeled destination, went non-stop to the main lobby level. It didn’t matter which elevator one took, this first part of the journey, the elevator ride, would be the same. Every elevator arrived at a common destination where people could then choose to go to the restaurant, the theater, the island, or to the shopping district. They didn’t have to decide their destination at the top floor. They could wait until one path diverged into many to decide.