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Fallen Umbrella Locks Out People In WeWork Office

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

It wasn't a regular office break-in.

(SOUNDBITE OF DANNY ELFMAN'S "MISSION IMPOSSIBLE MAIN TITLE THEME")

SIMON: Mike Ponticelli of Washington, D.C. and several conspirators did all they could.

MIKE PONTICELLI: I tried sticking my fingers between the jam. We tried sticking whatever we had in our briefcases, like wires and such and pencils and pens in there. We tried shaking it in every possible direction. Nothing could move the door an inch.

SIMON: There is no secret code, no high-tech locking device. It was Mike Ponticelli's own umbrella. The umbrella had fallen over and wedged itself between the glass door and a table in a shared WeWork office.

PONTICELLI: Like - kind of like the sword in the stone moment. Everybody's like, get out of the way, or let me do it.

SIMON: With valuable office supplies held hostage, a friend of Ponticelli's posted the situation on Twitter. Thousands of strangers offered suggestions and flung blame.

PONTICELLI: The internet kind of unanimously came to the conclusion that A, I'm an idiot, and B, that everybody had a better idea than I did.

SIMON: Use a coat hanger, some said. Break the glass, others shouted. Ponticelli didn't want to do anything destructive, but the workers were getting desperate. All the exiled workers had to share one MacBook charger. Imagine the despair.

After three days, WeWork brought in an engineer - a professional, not just some know-it-all on the internet. He went up to the next floor. He drilled a hole in the floor and slowly lowered a wire over the umbrella and pried it loose. Ponticelli and crew were back in the office. You mean everyone on the internet couldn't come up with the right answer?

(SOUNDBITE OF DANNY ELFMAN'S "MISSION IMPOSSIBLE MAIN TITLE THEME") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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