During our stay in the Singapore, one evening, my dad gave me a task, he asked me to go down to the reception and fetch a copy of the news paper. Now, this was a mammoth task for a 8 year old. This meant, go out of the room, push the elevator button, get inside, go down, fetch the paper, come back to the room. As simple it sounds, believe me, for me it was not. This assignment also involved speaking in English…… this last bit was icing on the cake. Oh man! ….. My English speaking skills were not good at that time so I struggled a lot in communication.
My dad could have called to the reception and asked for the paper be delivered, but he wanted me to go down and fetch it. He wanted me to have some fun, some experience.
So, very reluctantly but obediently I got out of the room, reached the elevator door, pushed the button. Waited. Then the doors opened. It was empty. I went in and pushed a button. I was short and the button panel was a bit high and I couldn’t clearly see the up or down button. I just pressed a button. Very soon it dawned on me that I have pressed the wrong button. As the doors opened I was in front of a huge hall …….. pitch dark. Not a single light was on. I realized I had reached top floor of the building (one less from the roof top). I was scared. Alone. Didn’t know what to do. I took a step out of the elevator and looked left and right, the doors started to close and I immediately jumped inside, breathing heavily, “Oh My God! I am lost!”. Before I could press a button, the elevator started descending. I was nervous. After a short while, the doors opened, entered 3 gents, one was wearing hotel staff uniform. He asked me where I wanted to go, I was quite, I understood what he had said, I pointed downwards. All three of them looked like giants to me, looking at them from the height of an 8 year old, they surely looked like giants.
We reached, the ground floor, I ran towards the reception, got the paper, and was on my way back. This time, I did not push the button, I waited, when few people gathered to go up, I simply tagged along. When asked which floor I wanted to go, I simply gave out the floor number. Relieved…. Man! This time no mishaps. As the door of the elevator opened, there was my dad! Standing there……. With fire in his eyes!
No, he was not angry, rather he got worried. This round trip was 15 minutes long. I was very scared that I will hear some music but that was not the case. He simply wanted me to gain some confidence and he trusted all his children and gave them ample opportunities to explore their surroundings and circumstances.
This might seem a simple task but it turned out to be a huge learning for me. A learning of a lifetime. Main lesson of this experience, don’t panic and keep your wits about when you are in a tough situation.
Since that event, I have faced much difficult situations while traveling abroad, but I have held on to my wits and nerve. I owe it to this little adventure in Singapore.