Trapped and with his life hanging in the balance, this calm-and-collected Chinese student took the opportunity to get his math drills done.

A local news item has been making the rounds on social media in China recently. In Harbin City, 13-year-old junior high student Sun Yixiao was on his way home from school when he suddenly got stuck inside an elevator. In what many would call a nightmare scenario, he would be forgiven for breaking down and screaming for his life, or at least going on an expletive laden rant like Paris Hilton did when she was trapped in a Chinese elevator.

However, with ice water coursing through his veins, this teen began to take action. He first “prevented the elevator from falling by quickly pressing the destination floor button…” something which I have never heard of working before nor could I find any information about online.

▼ In my experience, rapidly pushing buttons is only good for annoying the other passengers.

He then attempted to use the intercom system but got no reply. After finding no way of opening the doors or making the elevator move himself, he took out some paper and wrote out a note requesting a rescue.

“Someone is inside the elevator. Please contact the building’s administration!”

He then slipped the appropriately punctuated plea through a gap in the door and made sure it was in a place that could be spotted by a passerby. Feeling he had nothing left to do but wait for help to arrive, Sun then decided it was time to hit the books.

Using his school bag as a seat and his lap as a desk, he began by taking on his math homework, then onto science, followed by Chinese. With all that out of the way, he still wasn’t rescued, so he tackled all of his required memorization of Chinese character pronunciations.

▼ Say Bèi kùn 50 times.

Five hours later, firefighters were able to break through the door and release Sun from his academic prison, only to find that he was completely unfazed and had finished his homework. When the news hit the school, Sun was nicknamed the “cool-headed student” by his classmates.

Readers of the news in Japan had this to say:

“If it were me, I would have been crying for help.”
“In China…Thank God the elevator didn’t blow up.”
“I wonder if passing the time doing homework was the best choice in that situation.”
“I wouldn’t have been able to concentrate in that situation.”
“He ‘pushed the floor button quickly to stop the elevator from falling.’ You can do that?!'”

The button-pressing thing certainly is strange, and was reported rather matter-of-factly. Perhaps this was some safety tip that was reported in China back when escalator and elevator malfunctions across the country were making Maximum Overdrive look like a documentary. At least Japanese-language media reports suggest a rapid pushing whereas Chinese reports mention some kind of “safety button” that stops sudden falls.

Checking around online I couldn’t find info on any button that would do such a thing, but some people claim that in certain makes and models of elevators, pressing the desired floor button a few times (two to five depending on the model) rapidly will cause the elevator to go directly to that floor without stopping. Might be worth trying on a stalled one but it doesn’t seem like that would stop it from falling at all.

▼ Most elevators have emergency brakes that automatically apply when it stops.

Actually there are a whole bunch of special codes and techniques to make an elevator do certain things if you Google “elevator hacks.” I’m not sure how many of them actually work, but it could be fun to try in your office or home, if you don’t mind running the risk of getting stuck yourself.

See, now we all learned something from this experience.

Source:, Hachima Kiko (Japanese) Weiduba (Chinese)
Top Image: Wikipedia/Koogitskim
Photos: Wikipedia/laebsodiinmyujigWikipedia/Harrihealey02