This is the story of Business Week production manager Nicholas White.
While working late one Friday night back in 1999, White left his office on the 43d floor to head downstairs for a quick cigarette break. It turned out to be the longest and most agonizing cigarette break of his life.
When the 34-year-old got into car No. 30 to return to his desk, the elevator suddenly came to abrupt halt between floors. He immediately pushed the alarm to signal for help, but nobody came to his rescue even though he let it ring on for what seemed like forever.
By that time, it was already 11 p.m. and with the weekend right around the corner, the entire building was practically deserted. Little did he know that he would be trapped inside that elevator for nearly two days before being rescued.
The security camera was rolling the entire time, and the footage it caught is enough to give anyone a panic attack, even if they’re not claustrophobic.
White paced back and forth endlessly, slowly losing his mind as he contemplated just how long he was going to be stuck there. Then, he got down on the floor to try and remain calm.
“I had no idea if it was day or night,” White explained to ABC News.
Because he just went outside for what he thought was going to be short break, he didn’t bring anything with him (no cell phone, watch, food or water). All he had in his pockets was a pack of Rolaids. At one point during the nerve-racking ordeal, he opened the elevator doors and yelled out for help. But no one heard him. The only other time he opened those doors was to relieve himself by peeing down into the elevator shaft. It wasn’t until 41 hours later, when someone on the intercom asked if anyone was there, that White was finally freed.
He later received a settlement from the building for having endured such a nightmare.