The 66th Floor
by Rich Williams


The sunny sky was blue like the frames on her glasses, and Jane was ready for a very important meeting. She was a finalist to be president of the Air, Rails and Road corporation.

Jane clutched her bag and spun through the revolving doors in front of the building, where her meeting was on the 66th floor.

Spin, spin, step, spin, step, and stride.

The sunny sky was blue like the frames on her glasses, and Jane was ready for a very important meeting.

“Good afternoon,” Jane said. “My name is Jane, and I’m here for my 2 p.m. interview for the position of president at the Air, Rails and Road corporation.”

The guard pointed Jane to the shiny elevator down the red-carpeted hallway in the front room of the impressive headquarters. Jane looked at the hands on her watch, pushed the up arrow on the wall, and took a deep breath.

She waited several minutes watching the numbers above the elevator doors light up as the elevator moved closer to the ground floor. Once the 1 lit up, the doors opened, and Jane stepped inside.

The guard pointed Jane to the shiny elevator down the red-carpeted hallway in the front room of the
                impressive headquarters.

Up, up, up dinging and din,
the doors open wide on floor number ten.
Jane’s smile beamed like it hadn’t before
when Ms. Wright stepped on from the tenth floor.
Jane sure was late. She started to think,
but she met Ms. Wright with a nod and a wink.

"I’m Ms. Wright, and I work with words."

“The words we use are important,” said Jane, “almost as powerful as the words we don’t use.”

“That’s brilliant,” said Ms. Wright, “maybe I could use fewer words on my project. People appreciate a quick read.”  

Jane’s smile beamed like it hadn’t before when Ms. Wright stepped on from the tenth floor.

Up, up, up purring past floor eleven,
the doors open wide on floor 27.
You’ve been very helpful, she said with a grin.
Ms. Wright stepped out, Mr. Goode stepped in.
Jane sure was late, the time this was taking,
but she reached out her hand to Mr. Goode for handshaking.

“I’m Mr. Goode, and I work with colors.”

“Did you know that the colors on my dress are different in the elevator light than in the sunshine?” Jane said.

“Yes, the way we understand things we see depends on the light we shine on them,” said Mr. Goode.

“When we care about someone, we want others them to see us in the best light possible, so they see the best we can offer.”

Jane sure was late, the time this was taking, but she reached out her hand to Mr. Goode for handshaking.

Up, up, up flashing and flew,
the doors open wide on floor 32.
“Thank you for caring,” Mr. Goode appealed.
He left, Ms. Rogers entered, and then the doors sealed.
Jane sure was late, this was a surprise,
but “Hello,” Jane said to Ms. Rogers with her eyes.

“I’m Ms. Rogers, and I work with numbers.”

“Numbers?” said Jane, “I love numbers. Did you notice this building is missing the 13th floor?”

“Yes, many people work here for years and never notice.”

“I bet they’re just excited to start each day.”  

Jane sure was late, this was a surprise, but “Hello,” Jane said to Ms. Rogers with her eyes.

Up, up, up, sputter and spree,
the doors open wide on floor 43.
“Oh, you’re too modest,” Ms. Rogers was gone.
Mr. Grant peaked in, and then he stepped on.
Jane sure was late. She wished she could go,
but when Mr. Grant entered, she offered, "Hello."

“I’m Mr. Grant, and I work with rules.”

“We should pay attention to rules,” Jane said. "Rules are meant to make us feel safe and keep life fair.

Mr. Grant said, "It’s important that rules are also fair.”

Jane sure was late, this was a surprise, but “Hello,” Jane said to Ms. Rogers with her eyes.

Up, up, up, running and spun,
the doors open wide on floor 51.
"That’s quite courteous," Mr. Grant smiled with pride.
He walked out the door, Ms. Rather walked inside.
Jane sure was late. It had taken a while,
but she greeted Ms. Rather with warmth and a smile.

"I’m Ms. Rather and I work with people."

“People,” Jane thought and said, “Did you know elevators used to have operators who sat on a stool to operate the elevator? Workers need a comfortable place to sit. I’m sorry, I’m Jane, and I’m late to the most important meeting I’ve ever had.”

“Well, you seem very calm for a young woman so late to such an important meeting,” Ms. Rather said.

I’m Ms. Rather and I work with people.

Up, up, up, jumping and jive,
the doors open wide on floor 65.
“You seem oh so calm,” Ms. Rather quite sure.
She left Jane alone on the 65th floor.  

The many strangers getting on and off the elevator had made Jane too late for her meeting.

And then something happened:

The sixty-six-floor button once lit so bright
blinked off with a buzz and became dark as night.
“It’s not meant to be,” Jane tried not to frown.
“I just was too late,” she began moving down.
Down, down, down, rattle and roar,
the doors opened wide on the very first floor.

The sixty-six-floor button once lit so bright blinked off with a buzz and became dark as night.

A little girl stood at the ground level flight.
With rain boots and umbrella striped black and white.
She was all alone, the elevator empty.
Jane made up her mind and chose to be friendly.

But the little girl’s umbrella was stuck in the elevator.

"I have to push the open-door button now, or else she’ll have to walk home in the rain." Jane acted quickly to save the umbrella, and one more face in the elevator brightened.  

"Where are you headed?"
The girl stepped through the door.
"Thank you, ma'am," said the young girl.
"The sixty-sixth floor."

"The sixty-sixth floor," Jane thought, "what had she heard?"
This little girl must not have gotten the word.
Still feeling bad ‘cause her missed interview,
she pushed the top button, what else could she do?

She said to the little girl:

“I don’t know if you’ll make it up there all the way,
but I’ve met some nice people. It’s been a good day.
I sure like your stripes with the black and the white.”
And the pair’s elevator moved up the next flite.  

Up, up, up, clatters and clicks, the doors open wide on floor 66.

On the sixty-sixth floor, there was a room with a grand mahogany table.

And six chairs.

In each chair sat the Vice President of Air, Rails, and Road for each department in the company:

Ms. Wright was in charge of marketing.
Mr. Goode was over design.
Ms. Rogers controlled accounting.
Mr. Grant was chief legal counsel.
And Ms. Rather was head of human resources.  

The girl hugged the man that Jane had yet to greet.
“Jane, I’m Mr. Shirley, I’m pleased we can meet.
You’ve met my dear little one with the striped hat.
You're so kind to help her, you don’t have to do that.

“Jane, my friend, we have unanimously decided to make you the president of the Air, Rails and Road corporation.  

“You see, as a creator of ways to travel, we have a problem. Everyone loves the places they go and uses our planes, trains, and cars to get there. Our job is to make sure they enjoy the ride. The other candidates for this job never made it to the sixty-sixth floor, but your compassion, kindness, and patience during your journey to our table impressed us all."

"President Jane, the job is yours because you enjoy the ride.”

Enjoy the ride.


Dedication and Acknowledgements

Thank you, Ann, Charlie, Chuck and Johanna.

"So shines a good deed in a weary world. Charlie? My boy. You've won!"
Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, 1971

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
—Colossians 3:12

If we don’t get together between Lakeshore Drive and Ocean Avenue, it is my fervent prayer that we can meet at the eternal diner, enjoy a chocolate shake, and share some great memories from Route 66.
—Chuck Williams, Eternal Route 66