So... The elevator...
And, yes, you should go back and read 6a for context.
The elevators were jammed every morning with teenagers waiting until the last possible moment to leave and, yet, still get to the convention on time. That first morning, it was something like a 10-15 minute wait just to get on the elevator. Being that we were on something like floor 887, the stairs were not an option. Of course, by "elevator" I mean the main elevators that were just off of the lobby area, basically, the "center" of the hotel.
However, either in looking for the ice machine or just looking around the first night, I discovered that there were other elevators. Or, at least, one other elevator. It was at the end of the wing our room was on, well away from the central elevators. The second morning, I suggested that we should try that elevator instead. What was the worst that could happen, right? That it would also be crowded?
And I had to convince everyone! Seriously, what's with having to convince everyone all the time? Okay, I didn't have to convince the girl since she was just, I don't know, along for the ride. I think she actually just lived right outside our hotel door since she was always there waiting for us every morning when it was time to leave, and that's where we left her every night. I seriously don't think anyone knew where her room was.
So we went down to the other elevator, and it was completely empty! No line. No other people at all, in fact. [Why do people always argue with me about these things? I will never know.] So we pushed the button, waited the moment for the elevator to arrive, got in, someone pushed the button for the first floor... and that's when things got interesting.
As soon as the door started to shut, there was a voice from down the hall, "Hold the door! Hold the door! My granny's coming. My granny's coming." Now, the elevator wasn't just at the end of the hall. The end of the hall turned about 30 degrees so that the elevator was facing a window that overlooked the city rather than a blank wall across the hall, which meant that you couldn't see down the hall without actually stepping out of the elevator and looking to the left. But the voice was decidedly childlike. Jeff reached out and stopped the door from closing.
An eight- or nine-year-old boy appeared in front of the elevator. A skinny, little black boy... wearing a tuxedo. A black tuxedo with red, canvas high-top basketball sneakers and a red baseball cap. To say the least, he was adorable. "Hold the door! My granny's coming!"
The door, though, didn't like being held and was fighting against Jeff's hand, so Jeff, being the brilliant college student that he was, decided to "stop" the elevator. By "stop," I don't mean that he pushed the button to hold the doors open or anything like that; by "stop," I mean that he pushed the big, red, emergency "stop" button. Before anyone could do anything about it or even think that we should do anything about it. An alarm sounded.
Bob was gone. I mean that very literally; he was just gone.
If you've been reading this whole series, Bob lived in the neighborhood around our church with his grandmother and his father. It was a big house, one that I'm sure had been very nice when his grandmother had first moved into it something like 60 years earlier. But the neighborhood was in as much of a state of neglect as the house, which is to say that it wasn't, hmm... It wasn't what you'd call safe. So, when the alarm went off, Bob ran so fast, we didn't even see him leave the elevator. [Yes, he did that in front of the girl, whom, if you remember, he had a crush on.] He just wasn't there anymore, and there wasn't even a cloud of dust with the word "zoom" hovering in it to mark where he'd been.
The little boy's eyes were huge, like the proverbial "as big as saucers" kind of eyes. Jeff literally grabbed me and the girl and carried us out of the elevator, almost under his arms, as it were, and said, "Go!" As we came out of the little alcoved corner where the elevator was, we saw Bob way down at the other end of the hall peeking around the corner at us. And, when I say "way down," I mean "way down." The other end of the hall was a good 50 or 60 feet away, and Bob was all the way down there before we'd gotten all the way out of the elevator.
But Bob was not the only one we saw. Coming down the hall was the smaller duplicate of the boy at the elevator. He was probably about four, had on a black tux with red, canvas, high-top basketball sneakers and a red baseball cap. It was like adorable overload with his slightly chubby cheeks. He was saying something like, "What's happening, Granny?" to a short, large black woman in a big, flower dress, and she was saying as we passed, "There go those white boys, done playing in our elevator." Or something to that effect.
Despite the fact that the... incident was definitely user error, we never went back to that elevator and suffered through the long wait times at the regular elevators for the rest of the trip. However, that might have more to do with what happened later...