Powder Room Terror

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Gundaker

When I tell this story it doesn't sound all that scary, but at the time I thought I would die or give birth.

Spring '06 I was holding an open house for a fellow agent. There were two brand new homes side by side that were vacant.  It was nice out so I opened the windows and let the breeze in. I was also 7 1/2 months pregnant.

The first of two hours go by with no traffic and I had to go to the bathroom. There was a powder room on the first floor near the front door. I noticed the handle was missing but the mechanism was still in place.  I didn't think anything of it and went in. I closed the door just a bit in case someone came through. The only thing that came through the vacant 2-story that day was a gust of wind which sucked the door shut! No biggie, I thought to myself, I had opened doors where the handle had fallen off before, I knew I just needed to fidget with the mechanism and I was free.

Powder Room Terror

I wash my hands and tried door. No success. I am an active SCUBA diver and am good at calming myself down 60+ feet below water. I calmed myself down, splashed some water on my face and I tried a little more to get the door to open.  Still no luck. I PANICKED! I looked around this 5x5 powder room to see what i could use to get out. The mirror, the towel bar, the toilet paper holder, a toilet and sink- none of these would help me break down this door.  I was ready to start busting through drywall and insulation to get out. 

I remembered that there were a few neighbors out so I sat down and started screaming "HELP, somebody help me" through the hole where the handle SHOULD HAVE BEEN. That didn't work so I yelled "FIRE" and still no response.  Why not use my cell phone and call for help you ask?! That would have been smart except I left it on the counter as I didn't think I would need it to help me run in to go tinkle.

I tried using my name tag to fidget with the door, I even thought about trying to take the hinge pins out to remove the door but they wouldn't budge.  I finally took off my brand new heels and started using the heel to claw at the mechanism in the hole that had me locked in this powder room. It worked and there wasn't much damage to the shoe so they could be worn again!

It's amazing how 20 minutes trapped in a powder room gets your mind thinking. I called the agent and my husband to let them know what just happened and that I was going home.  I was shaking, I was crying, I had mascara streaks down my face.  I thought for sure I was going to die or have a baby in that room.  Had there been someone that lived there I think I  would have been OK knowing they would soon be home.

Needless to say I check the doors now and ALWAYS take my phone with me. I also let my husband know where I will be and if I am not back in a certain amount of time to come looking for me.


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Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty
Doesn't sound like a very fun experience!  Sounds like lesson learned and glad to hear you survived without too much wear and tear!
Mar 02, 2007 03:34 AM #1
Leigh Brown
Leigh Brown & Associates, RE/MAX Executive - Charlotte, NC
CEO, Dream Maker - Charlotte, NC
I guess I shouldn't be laughing-but you painted quite a visual picture!! Glad it all worked out, and definitely a learning lesson for ya.
Mar 02, 2007 04:27 AM #2
Sarah Cooper
Real Estate Shows - Hurricane, WV
Scary!!  Yes, the fact that it was a vacant house would have had me more scared, too.  And as much as my hubby pays attention, would he know where to come find me if I was late???  I don't know ... !  Glad you were able to solve it on your own.
Mar 02, 2007 05:17 AM #3
Duayne Weir
Investment Realities LLC/MarketLink Realty - Ham Lake, MN
Minnesota Real Estate Agent

Sorry that had to happen to you, and thanks for sharing it is a funny story!!

Good day!! have a cup of java and a smile on me :)

Mar 26, 2007 03:46 PM #4
Rudy Baker
Century21 First Choice Realty - Burlington, NC
Wow....is that why you guys always go in pairs?..... Just kidding.  I had a clients kids lock myself and their mom out of a vacant house....while they ran around window to window laughing at us.....  Talk about frusterating....
Mar 27, 2007 04:07 PM #5
Matt Pendleton
Realty ONE Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate
My heart goes out to you.  Lucky you didn't go into labor early. 
Mar 28, 2007 07:42 AM #6
Brigitte Mueller
Hunt Real Estate ERA - Tempe, AZ

Wow...yes open houses in vacant homes can be scary.

I had a similar incident.....I was sitting an open house and went to open the blinds. I turned around and walked directly into a VERY low hanging dining room light fixture.  It knocked me to my feet.   As I lay there on the floor I had visions of being unconscious and a prospective buyer (or worse) walking in on me lying on the floor. 

After a few minutes I was able to compose myself.  I look for low hanging fixtures ever since.


Mar 28, 2007 08:45 AM #7
Theresa Cavanaugh
Global Realty Marketing - Appleton, WI
Thanks for sharing your story.  I can't imagine the terror you must have felt.
Mar 28, 2007 08:51 AM #8
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital
I locked myself onto a condo's roof deck once in freezing weather!  I started banging on skylights until someone finally came home and let me in.  You do this kind of thing about once in your career!  Glad you were ok!
Aug 02, 2007 06:58 AM #9
Diane Velikis
Coldwell & Banker Busch Real Estate - Luzerne, PA
Luzerne County Real Estate
I don't blame you for being scared. Good thinking and problem solving there... I admit to the chuckle
Aug 03, 2007 07:39 AM #10
The TaxMan
Self Employed - Oakland, CA

Wow, what an experience...

I'll be sure to check twice before the next time I go to use the powder room! 

Aug 03, 2007 11:30 AM #11
Dionne Morgan
Realty World Solano Realty - Vallejo, CA

OK... thanks for the warning. Thank God you were not bare-footed. Great you didn't get stressed out enough to have your bundle of joy right there.

Now off the subject: Where can I find the library that you found the clipart for this post? Please answer me as soon as you can - thanks again.

Aug 05, 2007 11:24 AM #12
Alex Bautista
Hathaway Real Estate Group - Lacey, WA
Lewis-McChord & Fort Lewis Area Real Estate

I always take my phone with me to the bathroom. I have email and internet on my phone so I can be very productive in the powder room. In fact I'm commenting to your post from the bathroom right now. Just kidding :-)

Thanks for the laugh!

Aug 07, 2007 07:53 PM #13
Laura D'Anna
MediaCarrot photography - Burbank, CA
Media Carrot Photography
I was once locked into an apartment pool area during a photo shoot. My mother had come along as my "knowledgeable assistant". I had asked the manager specifically if we needed a key and he said no. We got into the pool and the resident that was sunning saw the camera and left...locking us in. After several attempts to break free I ended up climbing over a stucco wall, hanging on for dear life while my mother had her third fit of giggles leaving her utterly useless. And while it was a normal size wall on the pool side it was much lower on the other. And well I'm a skirt person, So that denim skirt I was wearing kind of stuck to that stucco wall as I shimmied down. But I got total payback when I got to laugh at my mother climbing that same wall. As humiliating as it was I would never trade that experience in. We still laugh about it.
Oct 22, 2007 08:11 PM #14
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