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How an umbrella locked tech workers out of their WeWork office for two days

The idea of an umbrella preventing people from going to work for two whole days may at first seem ridiculous. Because it kinda is.

But that’s exactly what happened earlier this week to a group of tech workers using a WeWork space for their business.

So what happened? Well, at some point after leaving the office last Friday, the infamous umbrella took it upon itself to fall over in such a way that it prevented the sliding entrance door from opening.

So when the tech team turned up on Monday to begin work, they realized they had a problem on their hands.

The saga was played out on social media, with everyone and their dog offering possible solutions on how to resolve the tricky matter. But none of them worked.

“The umbrella had locked the door perfectly”

The man whose umbrella caused the chaos has now come forward to tell the story in his own words.

In a piece for Vice, Mike Ponticelli wrote: “Sometimes you’ve got a problem and you see a clear solution. Sometimes you see a problem, and you know the solution will be messy, but there’s still a solution. There was no solution here. The seal was perfect. An umbrella had the door locked perfectly.”

Mike’s buddy, Neeraj, started tweeting about what had happened, prompting a flurry of activity among other users who were convinced they knew how to solve the conundrum.

Mike and his team tried jiggling the door, but the umbrella stayed firmly lodged in place. They tried sticking their fingers through a gap, as well as reaching it with a coat hanger, but to no avail.

A consensus began to form among social media users: Just smash the frickin’ glass. But Mike didn’t want to do that for all the mess it would make.

Next, an engineer was called in. One who specializes in accessing inaccessible offices. But this one was so inaccessible that even the engineer couldn’t access it.

Finally, in a desperate bid to reopen its office, WeWork called in a special “super-engineer” for whom no challenge is apparently too great. And, we’re happy to say, he saved the day.

The solution, it turned out, was to cut a small hole in the floor above and dangle down some wire to dislodge the umbrella.

“There’s still a hole in the ceiling now, about the size of a gherkin,” Mike wrote, presumably from the comfort of his WeWork office.

He said he had no idea how the umbrella came to end up in that odd position, adding, “Something happened that caused the umbrella to fall in such a way that could never be replicated in 1,000 years.”

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Trevor Mogg
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