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This urban myth has been around for years. I first heard about it in 2005, although it probably has been around longer than that.


There's no level 4?


@Fluttershy It may be an elevator in Japan. I think the number 4 there is regarded like the number 13 in the US.


This is not true, there is a keyhole and that is what police and firemen use. Its a universal lock to make it zip to your selected floor.


I commented on this when it showed up in the Chive last week. Elevators USED to work like this 30 years ago. It wasn't a problem then, information didn't spread as freely as it does not with the internet in full use. They couldn't set them up like this now for precisely this reason - a disappointingly large number of people would read this and act like selfish dickholes every time they rode the elevator instead of using it like a normal person.

As Kel pointed out, all elevators have override switches that are controlled by keys - I'm a building manager and can put an elevator on independent service (what the photo is attempting to describe) or take it out of service entirely. Emergency personnel have a separate key that overrides EVERYTHING solely for their use

@ Fluttershy and Skittles - I agree that it's mostly likely in Japan, but it could also be an atrium level. I've done plans for several buildings that had extremely tall "atrium" floors either at the ground floor or a couple levels up for events. They sometimes treated it like two floors merged, hence the skip.


There's also no level 14, or 24. Either they did those double floors three times, or it is something to do with "4"


Did not even notice that. Yeah, it's gotta be a Japanese elevator then.


It's not true that this is how police and firemen use the elevator in emergencies. There is a special override key because in many buildings elevators are shut down to force people use the stairs for safety reasons.

However, this does seem to work in most elevators I've encountered but only if you hold the button until you get to your floor, not until the doors close. In some very new ones though it may not work, but it's worth a try if you're really in a hurry and there aren't other people in the elevator with you.



1) You'll really only find it in older elevators, this has not been standard industry practice for a couple decades because of the potential for abuse

2) Really, it's NOT ok to do that. There may not be people in the car with you, but you're bypassing people waiting in elevator lobbies for a car to come to their floor. Manage your time better - your time is not any more valuable than the person who you're hypothetically taking an elevator car from.



Thanks for the advice and heavy side-order of sanctimoniousness. For the record, I've done this maybe 3 times over the course of 10 years, which is probably why it's 'worked' on every elevator I've encountered, and it was actually coincidence that the elevator didn't stop on any other floor.
I can mange my time just fine, thank you very much but on occasions things you can't plan for happen, and I never said I thought my time was more valuable than anyone else's.

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