Mother searches for good samaritan

SUSAN STRONGMAN
Last updated 05:00 04/02/2014
Nikki Stupples full
LAIRD HARPER

Nikki Stupples is trying to find the woman who looked after her son Max.

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A mother is desperately seeking the woman who helped her out when she was separated from her baby by a rogue elevator.

Hawera woman Nikki Stupples was waiting for a lift at New Plymouth's Centre City shopping mall with her 2-week-old baby in a pram last Friday.

When the lift arrived, a lady next to her kindly let her get in first.

As Mrs Stupples backed into the lift, pulling the pram after her, the doors began to close on it.

She said a man in the lift put his arm out to stop the doors from closing and another person tried pushing the button to hold the door open, but neither option worked.

Rather than have the lift doors close on the pram, Mrs Stupples pushed it back out and they closed, separating the mother and baby.

"I didn't have time to jump out with my pram, so had to watch my baby being left behind."

Luckily, the woman who had let Mrs Stupples get in the lift before her, hadn't made it into the lift either, and stayed with the baby until the 35-year-old mother of three was able to get back to the level she had left the pram on.

"It was such a blur.

"I don't even know if I said thank you to her."

Mrs Stupples shared her experience on Facebook page "Buy and Sell New Plymouth", hoping she would be able to track down the woman who helped her, so that she could thank her properly.

She also emailed Centre City management to explain what had happened.

She received a reply from manager Ernie Heath, saying he had looked at the lift himself and was unable to see any obvious fault.

Speaking to the Taranaki Daily News yesterday, Mr Heath said a technician had been to look at the lifts, which were installed a year ago, and discovered the problem was a simple one.

"There was no fault, it was a default factory setting called the 'nudge feature'," he said.

The feature meant that if the lift doors were held open for a fixed period of time, a buzzer sounded and the doors slowly begin to close.

Mr Heath said the technician had turned the feature off on all of the elevators in the centre, as he said he did not want a similar incident to happen.

He said the function was designed to stop people from holding the lifts too long.

If the doors had closed on the pram, they would have re-opened and there was no way the lift would have moved without the doors being closed, Mr Heath said.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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