MINNEAPOLIS - On the corner of Nicollet Mall and 9th Street stands a nearly-hundred-year-old landmark. And within that, a 78-year-old icon.
Darlene Lewis operates the last manual elevator in Minneapolis in the Young Quinlan building. It's a job she couldn't believe still existed before she applied for it.
"I said, 'they still have elevator operators over there?' I couldn't believe it," she said on Friday in between trips up and down the floors of the building, built in 1926.
Lewis is one of two operators of the elevators. She says the job comes with some unique demands, including anticipating what the "passenger" may need emotionally.
"Do you feel good today or do you look bad? What can I say to make your day better," she said, adding, "I have raised a daughter. I helped raise a grandson. So I know the struggles that they're having."
No question, Darlene's efficiency - and empathy - have earned her the respect and admiration of those who hop on board.
"Just lots of fun to be with and she always brightens the day every morning," said Lorna Fox, who considers Darlene "a friend."
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