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Great Britain

Umbrella jammed in door locks workers out of office for days

How many co-workers does it take to open a door? More than a handful, members of the shared office space WeWork found out this week.

Employees of an unnamed company renting space in a Washington DC WeWork building returned to work after the weekend to find they were unable to enter the office – an umbrella had fallen sideways, jamming the door.

Neeraj Agrawal, a spokesman for cryptocurrency non-profit Coin Center, tweeted photo evidence of the predicament, which quickly went viral.

Neeraj K. Agrawal (@NeerajKA)

My friend’s entire company is locked out of their WeWork office because an umbrella fell, jamming the door.

No one can figure it out. It’s been like this for 2 days. pic.twitter.com/ggaUkgYRFR

As the tweet made the rounds, dozens of armchair door-un-jammers weighed in on the best options to free the umbrella and get the workers inside. Among the suggestions: cut a hole in the door, drill a hole in the wall next to it or shimmy a wire through the crack in the door. But none of these solutions worked, said Mike Ponticelli, an employee who talked to Vice.

“Two of my coat hangers went down in the fight,” he said. “It was a ‘does not compute’ moment, because the situation had absolutely no apparent solution. I really appreciate everyone’s ideas on Twitter, but we tried everything.”

Ponticelli and his three colleagues were trapped outside the office for more than two days, sharing just one computer charger and watching their empty office from outside the glass windows.

Ultimately, WeWork got an engineer to drill a hole in the ceiling and lift the umbrella out of the way using wire and the workers were able to enter again. WeWork declined to comment on the incident, as it is in a quiet period ahead of its upcoming IPO. The most lasting lesson from the incident, said Agrawal, whose tweet has more than 115,000 favorites and 20,000 retweets, is that everyone on the internet thinks they are right.

“I had countless people telling me exactly how to fix it and they were totally wrong, but they were such smug jerks about it,” he said in an interview. “The internet is bad.”

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