Elevator Technicians Describe The Weirdest Things They've Found At The Bottom Of The Shaft
Photo by Bruno Kelzer on Unsplash

Elevators are an amazing piece of technology we overlook every time we go to the office or return home to our apartments or go to the gym. (It's leg day. Cut us some slack.) While we may hesitate to use them now, in the time of COVID, there exists a mystery in the back of our minds every time we step foot into one: What's at the bottom? Surely all kinds of stuff must have found its way to the bottom, but what exactly slips through the cracks between the car and the shaft wall?

Turns out, a lot of gross stuff.

Reddit user, Posted byu/diegomkt, wanted to hear about the strangest of the strange when they asked:

Elevator-maintenance folks, what is the weirdest thing you have found at the bottom of the elevator chamber?

Oh, Just You Wait...

season 3 simpsons GIFGiphy

Keys. Trash. Bugs if the building is exceptionally sh-tty. Mostly dirt and dust.

Found a paint roller that the last guy left there once. It was stuck to the floor.


What? I Was Done Eating It.

Definitely women's underwear and the weirdest call out I had was a freshly eaten chicken wing in the track causing a car door close failure fault on the 26th floor.


Clearly, This Is Where The Party Was

I am a Elevator maintenance person. And i have found lots of strange but funny things. The best being anal beeds in one pit and a dildo 3 or 4 yrs later in a elevator pit in a different building. The worst being used rubbers and hypodermic needles. Whats wrong with people?!!!!


Unconventional Spooning

Approximately 30 pounds of silverware in a very high end hotel chain. The job was to clean down the service elevators and kitchen cars. According to the drivers license I also found, they had not been cleaned in over twenty years.

They were the absolutely filthiest ones I've ever seen, and I've worked on one in a poop-water treatment facility.



Not at the bottom but rather at the top. Long ago I was an assistant to the gentleman that worked maintenance for a public library. There was a bat trapped in the top of the elevator shaft. We somehow crafted a net from stuff we had around and caught the bat and released it outside. Interesting walk down 2 flights of stairs and through the library floor.


Sounds Like The Start To A Fun Weekend

This question should be my jam, but unfortunately I've never found anything interesting. $2 coin once, a dime bag of some unknown drug, plenty of syringes, or sets of keys. It's mostly just peoples junk mail and empty chip bags down there.


Tired Of Doing Their Job

A few years ago one of our elevators stopped working. Turned out when they opened it up they found a 3-ft pile of guest folios that were never delivered to the rooms. Later when we looked on the camera we found it was a security guard that got tired of delivering them to the rooms and instead dropped them down the elevator shaft. He did this for months until he was caught.


Guest folios?


When you check out from a hotel, they normally deliver you a folio underneath your door. It's the receipt showing the charges for your stay.


Someone Call John Wick

The elevator guys in my dad's office complex found pieces of a dog's skeleton. Not the whole skeleton, just random parts.


Not Going To Take No Anymore

Bundle of Watchtower magazines (Jehovah's witnesses pamphlets) wrapped in duct tape.

Inside it was a Rossi .44 Special revolver and a screwdriver.



sick homer simpson GIFGiphy

Worked security in a large department store, we routinely had to pop it open to retrieve dropped keys, wallets, and phones.

Recovered a $2500 gold necklace covered in poop.. a would be shoplifter darted out of our jewelry department and "suitcased" the necklace while in the elevator. When he realized we were waiting for him at the exit level he went back up a floor, removed it, and dropped it down the shaft.

We arrested him anyway, much to his surprise.


What A RIBBIT-ing Tale

I once found a colony of frogs and toads. This was in a parking garage and the guy that was with me said that he had never seen so many frogs in his entire life. There had to have been close to 300+ frogs in there and we still never found out how they got in there


Simple Item, Complex Payment

Not weird but was sent out to a callout because a property owner had said one of their tennants dropped a $10 note down the lift shaft between the landing and car door sills and wanted it back. Get to the job, go into the lift shaft, jumped in the pit, recieved the $10 note and handed it into reception. Signed out of the job and client was billed $350 for the callout.


Where Does All The Runoff Go?

Elevator mechanic here. I have plenty of horrific stories, but I think the worst one may be from working in Chinatown in San Francisco. Responded to a trouble call and when I raised the elevator up, the pit was filled with 1000+ gallons of blood and water. It was a freight elevator inside a Chinese poultry butcher shop and they would just spray the floors clean. Lowest point of elevation in the building was the elevator pit and the sump pump had stopped working.



How about in the top of the shaft? 23 feet of seagull droppings. Got a call that the car moved UP too slowly. Seagulls flying over had filled the top 2 stories of the shaft. We only had 1 guy willing to clean it out. Took him an entire weekend. We also made them cover the top of the shaft.


Best Hiding Spot Around

A leader of my LDS congregation in Provo, UT, was an Elevator Technician at BYU - Church owned university. He used to clean and service the bottoms of the elevator shafts on campus. The ones in the student center Wilkinson building was always littered with incredibly prurient pornography of every ilk. He surmised it was the most anonymous way for dorm students to get rid of the salacious material before room inspections or parental visitations!


Thank You, Elevator Maintenance Employee!

I once accidently lost my drivers license down the little gap in the elevator doors, just dropped it and was super unlucky as it slipped through. It turned up in my mail 10 years later! Obviously long expired, but still crazy some maintenance guy found it and bothered retuning it.


So Long As Your Spirit Is Young, You'll Never Grow Old

My dad has a great story about this. He supervised the mechanics, and one of them called him from a mental hospital and said "you've got to see this". The maintenance guy was called because the elevator wasn't quite sitting level on the ground floor; it was about half an inch too high and both patients and staff had been tripping on it. But all other floors were no problem.

My dad arrived to find the maintenance guy cackling, looking into the bottom of the shaft. There were probably tens of thousands of magazines down there. They had to get a bunch of shovels, a small crew, and a rolling dumpster to clear it out. When it was all done, my dad decided to stay behind and pretend to read a newspaper while he sat in the lobby. After about half an hour, he sees an elderly patient holding a magazine, shuffling slowly toward the elevator.

He stops in front of the doors, glances left, glances right, and quickly stoops down, slides the magazine into the gap, and shuffles away as fast as he can with a huge grin on his face. My dad could not help but laugh hysterically. This guy had probably been sliding magazines in there multiple times per day, every day, for decades. I should ask him whether he reported it or let the guy have his fun. Wouldn't surprise me if my dad went with the latter.


Wait For It...And Learn...

happy season 3 GIFGiphy

Worked at a hotel. Guest dropped their phone down the shaft. After a few failed retrieval efforts, we called the elevator guys. They went down got the phone and also found a carton of eggs. Rotten, but not cracked. I don't even understand how that could happen accidentally.


Because it was no accident.

I work in tech now but while I was in college I helped an HVAC guy and he once had me put a carton of fresh eggs in the duct of a client's office that had stiffed him before.

When I asked him why I was doing this he said "if this motherf-ck doesn't pay up, he's going to have a new issue."

But then the guy paid two days later and I was sent to retrieve the eggs. He called it his "99¢ insurance policy"


Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.