Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • I work in an old, 8-story brick building with a manually operated freight elevator run by an older man named Luis. Every morning I arrive at the dirty burgundy doors, press the button and wait to hear the sound of a cranky elevator descend to the street. Then the noise of the metal grate being pulled back, a heavy click as Luis unlatches the metal doors and I enter his domain. I say Hi Luis, and he mostly nods in return.

    There is a bare bulb in the corner lighting up Luis's control center which is technically an elevator annunciator, but really just a battered metal box showing incoming calls from the eight floors. The buzz is loud, and triggers a switch which Luis resets by pressing a button directly beneath the box. His hand rests on the wooden handle of the crank and with a facility born of years of operating this particular freight elevator, stops it perfectly and smoothly at each floor.

    He remembers where everyone belongs and even those who don't come daily, he usually knows where to take them too.

    On cold days Luis hides out in the basement warm with the steam pipes hissing. On sunny days he sits outside, with his back against the elevator doors and eyes closed. Sometimes I catch him shadow boxing, throwing punches and jabs, keeping his arms spry. In the afternoons, after lunch, there is the loud blaring of Spanish coming from the basement. I like to imagine Luis impatient that we have dragged him away from his afternoon talk shows and soap operas but he rarely displays any large emotions. He is not so stoic as he appears though, and a smile is easily won if you offer him a cookie or a cupcake.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.