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We hurriedly crossed the street filled with many people walking calmly, because they were used to the cold winds and rainy days in England, unlike Dad and I who were only used to the warm spring weather home in New Jersey. Dad called the elevator down as soon as we burst through the hotel entrance. The doors slid open and we stepped inside, still shivering into our coats—or at least I was shivering into my coat; Dad just seemed immune to harsh weather.
“Oh, shoot,” Dad muttered under his breath.
I looked over and asked what was wrong. I was praying he didn’t forget something at the restaurant like he did the day before. It was way too rainy in England to be walking across town and back to the hotel again.
“No, forget it. I forget something is all,” he sighed.
“Well, what did you forget?” I asked, afraid we might have to go back outside. While I waited for his answer, I decided I could suffer through the journey once more for him. I should be grateful he even took me here to begin with to visit my British friend, Nicole.
“I was just thinking earlier that we could race. You could take the elevator and I would run up the stairs. I bet I could beat you,” he teased.
I thought about it for a minute, then realized how great this idea was. Any chance to beat my dad at something couldn’t be bad. I was suddenly begging him to race me. He could be pretty full of himself sometimes, but there was no way my forty year old dad could beat me up five floors.
“Well, we’re already half way there,” he reminded me.
“No, no, no! We can go back down!” I exclaimed.
He laughed and gave in. “Okay. Just stop at the third floor.” He bent down to tie his shoes tight while I stopped the elevator eagerly. He kept talking about how he was going to beat me and he would even give me the key because he knows I couldn’t get there first.
“Then give me the key,” I demanded. The way he was talking, he even had me convinced I was going to lose. At least if I had the key, he couldn’t lock me out. We always played jokes on each other like that; I’d lock him out of the house when he was slow some days or he would lock me out of the car while it was raining. It sometimes got pretty intense; one time my mum even joined in and locked us both out of the house, leaving us to climb through the back window.
He handed me the key just as the elevator rang. The doors slid open and he took off running, making a sharp turn to the left for the stairs. I was already pressing the fifth button before the doors opened fully. In my mind, clicking the button twenty times would make it go faster, but it didn’t exactly work that way. The doors couldn’t close any slower, but finally after another second, I was on my way up to victory.
Too long later, I burst out the elevator doors. A small family of three was standing in the hall outside their door and I sauntered past them, sure I had beat Dad. I couldn’t hear him up the stairs which was a good sign. I watched the room numbers—701, 703, 705…. Something was wrong, though. There was no room 507 on this floor.
I looked back to the stairs and read the sign labeled “Seventh floor”. My eyes lit up and I ran back to the elevator as fast as I could. I imagine the little girl with her parents thought I was nuts, or maybe she was jealous she couldn’t play tag in the hotel.
I waited for the elevator impatiently until the doors opened. It brought me back down the two floors I had somehow missed the first time. I didn’t even bother thinking about what went wrong. I was sure I had pressed the right button, but it didn’t matter right now. I just needed to beat my dad, which seemed highly unlikely as I already lost several minutes after taking my time to stroll through the hall in my victory.
I stepped out of the elevator and didn’t see Dad anywhere. I could hear heavy panting, though, and loud foot steps getting closer. Either a large child was falling down the stairs or I was about to lose my chances of winning. I glanced at the stairs and saw my dad stomping down the last few steps.
We locked eyes for only a moment before I dashed down the hall. Dad was soon following right behind me and catching up quick. I whipped out the key from my pocket and stopped short in front of the door. I tried unlocking the door quickly but by the time I did, Dad was standing behind me laughing. I started pushing him back while I tried to get through, but my attempts were useless. It was pathetic to even try. He was a strong 6’4” man and I wasn’t even over five foot. While he laughed at me, I realized my size just might help me anyway. I turned around quickly, surprising him, and then squeezed through the cracked open door. I slammed it shut before he could fight it. My body dropped to the floor in exhaustion. Thank God for the automatic lock.
“Ha!” I shouted with the last of my breath. It was quiet for a few minutes before he started begging me to open the door. The rest of the day went by slow. I emailed my friends back home about the adventure and called my mum to brag. My dad must have slid at least fifty pounds—English currency—under the door as bribes, and even bought me paper from the hotel gift shop to shove under the door as well when I said I how badly I needed to have this memory recorded on paper. I let him in a few hours later after he had about given up and gone for a stroll around the hotel for a while.
We each shared our stories. Apparently though, the race wasn’t exactly fair. He was dropped off at the fourth floor rather than third. He blamed me for this, but I didn’t do it on purpose. The reason I ended up on the seventh floor was because he prepared to run up three floors instead of two and press the elevator button to drop me off at the sixth floor, then run back down to fifth to beat me with plenty of extra time—this plan would have been genius had the elevator actually dropped him where he was supposed to be. He ended up on the sixth floor and waited there for me for a few minutes until he realized he was on the wrong floor as well. He was probably speeding up the stairs while I was angrily pressing the elevator buttons over and over.
I won, though, which is the important part. To this day, I still get to tell the tale of how I beat Dad elevator vs. stairs in England. He tries to say that I was the cheater, but it was an honest mistake. I didn’t mean to press the wrong button, but I’m glad I did. If I could actually take credit for this, it could be considered the best prank yet in my family. Accidents happen, though; this accident, however, wasn’t so bad.