Anyone flying out of Haiti has noticed the tension that escalators cause for people who are new to them.
Today, we herded ourselves off of the plane and turned the corner to go up the escalator shoot. I was half way up when I heard some commotion further ahead in the shoot. Then I noticed a green garment bag at my feet. It was hooked on the inside wall of the escalator. It’s owner had apparently turned around and tried to walk back down the moving steps to re-acquire the snagged bag. That caused a pile-up of passengers falling backwards down the moving stairs. It was a slow-motion kind of pile-up. The pile reached me and two or three folks were falling onto me. We all (I think) thought we could just stand steady and it would be over, but on the moving stairs nothing stopped the domino effect. The pile was growing and I was now part of it. The human pile kept moving toward the top of the stairs. I remember saying, “PEZE BOUTON AN!” “HIT THE BUTTON!” No one knew what button I was talking about and the pile continued to grow and move up the stairs. People were gasping and shouting. As we reached the top of the stairs, the pile kind of flipped upside down. Those of us toward the bottom came up over those stuck on the not-moving floor at the top of the stairs. By God’s grace I fell on my back right next to the panic button. Right there it was. God’s provision. I slapped it. There was a plastic cover. I lifted the cover and slapped again. Bells rang. Lights flashed. The moving pile stopped moving.
As we gathered ourselves, I heard someone say, “That man stopped it.” Or something like that. People gathered their stuff and everyone began walking away. I did, too.
Missionary in Haiti.