Dear Ms. Demeanor,
I just moved into a small building on the Upper East Side. We have a doorman, but sometimes he has to take a short break and locks the inner door to the elevator hall, so that only residents will be able to access it.
I arrived home last night to find that he was on break and there was a woman standing in the lobby attempting to call an apartment. It didn't seem as though anyone picked up.
She looked at me expectantly and hoped that I'd let her into the elevator with me. Since I'm new, I didn't know if she was a resident who had been locked out, or if she was a friend--or a burglar.
What should I do if this situation arises again?
Didn't you see that Seinfeld episode where Elaine buzzed in a jewel thief? You are not a Bad Samaritan by any stretch of the imagination. You did the totally responsible and appropriate thing.
To qualify as a Good Samaritan as opposed to just a regular Samaritan, you could offer to knock on the door of the apartment the person is trying to call/burgle.
It may be wise to have one of the call buttons designated for the doorman's cell phone for emergencies.
Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to firstname.lastname@example.org and put "Dear Ms. Demeanor" in the subject line.