You know the signs all over the airport, posted on the wall, painted on the floor and hung on the ceiling saying “Stand Right Walk Left?” That’s called escalator etiquette. People not in a hurry stand on the right side of the escalator so that those who need to get past can walk up or down the left side.
It’s a pretty simple concept. The Japanese do it fastidiously, silently merging to the right side of moving walkways as they patiently commute through Shinjuku station. It’s almost amazing to watch the accuracy and precision with which it’s executed.
In New York City it’s almost the same, with most people riding up and down escalators pressed to the wall. But there’s always one guy, usually on his Bluetooth, that’s standing on the wrong side like a wart on the surface of perfectly smooth skin. Most of the time this guy will be in front of you when your gate is about to close at the airport, you’re at the top of the escalator and you need to get past. Or perhaps he’ll be there as you’re running full bore trying to catch that last shuttle into the city. That’s the guy.
Worse, however is when the guy is actually trying to do the right thing and stand on the right side – but has his rollaboard sitting on the left side of the escalator. That doesn’t count! Unless people are pro steeple chasers they’re still not going to get by.
Escalator Obstacle Guy: we’ve all been in a haze and been there before. But next time you get on an escalator, look around. If you’re the only person standing along on the left side, it’s for a reason. Scoot over.
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