Two of us had been waiting with increasing impatience for an elevator on the 15th floor of an older downtown building. When it finally arrived, a bicycle messenger burst out. We stepped into the empty elevator and were taken up rather than down, as someone had punched the button for the 18th (and top) floor.

“Those messengers don’t have any consideration for anybody,” muttered my elevator mate.

“At least he only punched one button and not all three,” I replied.

The messenger had apparently made his delivery quickly, for he was there when we stopped at the 15th floor again on the way down. My still-seething companion blurted, “We weren’t too pleased to have to go up to the 18th floor.”

“It never pleases me to have to wait for an elevator, and the wait can be long in this building,” the messenger retorted.

“Don’t you messengers ever think about anybody except yourselves?”

“Hey, I was sent here because someone had to have a document delivered in a hurry. I’m just trying to serve him as best I can.”

“You’re not the only one in a hurry.”

“My job is to be in a hurry.”

“Did you ever think when you send an elevator up like that it wastes energy and causes unnecessary wear on the elevator?”

“It would cause even more wear if it had to go all the way down and come back to pick me up.”

“Listen, I own this building, what do you own?”

“I get to ride my bike all day, what do you do?”

At that we reached the first floor and the messenger was gone.