To the Editor:
This letter was addressed to YMCA director Jill Robie-Axtel.
After spending half of the morning of Oct. 17 stuck in the Y elevator, and dealing with paramedics, I’d like to make you aware of the following:
I have complained about the elevator for the past five years. After reading a story in the New York Times where a woman died in a building elevator that she constantly complained about, I told the staff that I had written in my will that if I died in the elevator, my family should sue the Y. I never took the time to change my will.
First the universe whispers, then it speaks louder, then yells, and ultimately screams. The Y has chosen to ignore the problems with that elevator from day one. They’ve continued to have it repaired over and over and over again — throwing good money after bad.
On the back of your card, it says, “For community” — I don’t consider a nonworking elevator to be “for community.” Why the gym was put on the second floor of the facility is beyond me. That said, it is a known fact that the Vineyard has a large senior population. Many of us have bad knees. I wish I had a $100 bill for every time I said to people, “They won’t be happy until someone dies in that elevator. What’s it going to take for them to get it?” Instead of raising money for basketball courts and other bells and whistles, why not fix what needs to be fixed? Your chosen neglect of the community’s well-being is not in its best interests.
Unfortunately, the only thing anyone cares about is money. Well, if you’re sued, maybe, that will finally be the wake-up call you and the board need to make changes. I lost an hour of my life — 30 minutes stuck in that elevator, and 30 minutes having to deal with paramedics freaking out over my blood pressure. Neither of which I needed on a Tuesday morning. I’m a long-term cancer survivor, and my valuable time on earth may not mean anything to you — but it sure does to me.
This was unneeded stress in my life. I constantly discourage people from joining the Y. The frustrations I’ve had to deal with over the years due to that elevator have been endless. I gather this is not secret in the community, and may be why many people don’t belong to the Y. (They’ve heard the horror stories.)
Take note: 1) I have sought legal counsel. 2) I want to know how you plan to compensate me for the emotional/psychological/physical stress that I endured due to your negligence. 3) Ask yourselves — as someone asked me — “What if a pregnant woman had been trapped in there?” 4) I’ve contacted the building inspector in Oak Bluffs in regard to this issue.
I suggest you read this letter at your next board meeting. I also suggest that every board member experience being trapped in that elevator for a half an hour.
I am also sending this letter to the YMCA corporate office in Chicago, so they’re aware of your negligence and your legal responsibility in regard to having a working elevator in that building.
Janice Fouks Blum