I ran into work, passed my boss and coworker waving a quick "hello", and headed to the back of the store. I was most likely a few minutes late. I'm a late person - it's not something I'm proud of.
I walked through the many isles of videos, opened the "Employees Only" at the back, walked down the dingy, fluorescent lit hallway, grabbed the doorknob and entered the bathroom to my right. I turned the little timer dial, which lit the room and activated the bathroom exhaust simultaneously. Engulfed in the loud drone of the fan, I quickly changed into my work clothes and stuffed my other clothes into my bag.
After checking my hair in the mirror, I gathered my things, turned the doorknob, and nothing happened. The latch did not retract, the door wouldn't open. "What the heck?", I said aloud as I fiddled with the door, trying to figure out what was wrong. I took a step back and surveyed the room, inventorying my options: my bag of clothes, my keys, some paper products, hand soap, and a plunger. Hmmmm....
Not too concerned, I experimented with the door again. Apparently the knob and the latch retracting mechanism were no longer connected. I tried to push the door to one side, far enough to remove the latch from the hole in the frame, but it was too heavy, it wouldn't budge. "Someone is going to have to open the door from the other side", I thought, "But... there is no one around, not even within yelling distance." I started to panic... just a little.
I put my ear to the door and listened. I could only hear the drone of the bathroom fan. I turned the dial to the "off" position and stood there for a moment in silent darkness. I finally gave in to what I had to do, shoved my embarrassment to the back of my mind, and started pounding and yelling through the door.
A few minutes passed while I continued my intermittent noise making.
I heard a very faint voice speaking from far away after what seemed like ages. "I'm fine but I'm locked in here. Please go get someone to help", I said in my loudest voice. I can only imagine what this person, a customer as it turned out, thought of the situation I must be in.
"Hello? Are you ok?"
I relaxed, weirdly excited that help was coming! Some of my embarrassment returned. What a dumb situation...
"Jill?" My coworker, Brandi, walked down the back hallway to the bathroom door. I explained my situation to her as I stood in the still dark bathroom, and we both laughed. She explained that a customer had come to the front saying they heard someone yelling for help through the back door. My boss suspected "womanly issues" and decided he would rather send Brandi to check it out (haha). I heard the knob on my side jiggle as she tried to open the door, and then there was a metallic ~THUD~ from her side.
"The doorknob came off!", Brandi squeaked.
"I think you're going to have to go get Eric", I told her.
"NO! No, you don't understand", she said frantically, "The doorknob... fell off! It's... it's in my hand!!". I tried to contain my amusement at her deep concern. She was only a few years younger than me but this seemed like a huge problem to her. Smiling (honestly, I was growing slightly concerned myself) I said "go get Eric, he'll have to fix it and open the door."
A few minutes later my boss arrived outside my new jail cell. "What the heck is going o.... oh." he said as he looked at the knob-less bathroom door and laughed. "Hi Eric! The door won't open. Can you please get me out of here?" I sat down on the toilet cover and waited. Finally, he figured out how to fix it, the door opened, and I squinted as the light poured in to the dark bathroom.
The rest of the day was filled with giggling at my small adventure and the rest of my employment there was spattered with comments like "Don't get stuck!", "Do you need someone to go with you?" and "I won't be saving you if you break the door again".
Ahh memories :)