Scene From ‘Shawshank Redemption’ Helps Woman Dig Herself Out of Locked Workplace Bathroom

Trapped in bathroom

*Wow! This is not for the claustrophobic or faint at heart. Imagine finding yourself locked in the bathroom of your workplace…and its a Friday night!


That’s what happened to Karen Perrin, an employee at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Here’s what happened:

Perrin had decided to work late one Friday night and was about to leave at around 10p.m. but realized she had left her cell phone on her desk. She went to use the bathroom and after washing her hands, realized the bathroom door would not open, no matter how hard she tried. Her fear of being in closed places sunk in quickly.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I felt hopelessness. I felt like I was going to die in there because of the anxiety I was feeling.”

Perrin did what any of us would have probably done. Tried to think up ways to get attention (no, she had not yet picked up her cell phone!) Paper towels. Noticing the paper towel bin, she decided to empty it and push towels under the door in hopes that surveillance cameras would notice the constant movement. Nope! Didn’t work.

“I probably put 200 towels out,” Perrin recalls. “But after nobody came to rescue me, I realized I had to do something else.”

She looked up and saw an escape door on the ceiling and tried to reach it – probably thinking she could stand on a sink – but she was unable to hoist herself up.

It’s times like this that the strangest thoughts start to come into your head; like a scene from one of your favorite movies, say, “Shawshank Redemption.”

Remember how Tim Robbins character Andy Dufresn used a carving knife to dig himself free over a period of uh…25 years?

It’s worth a shot, Perrin decided. After the escape window on the ceiling proved a no-go, she looked around and found a 3-foot metal bar and proceeded to dig through the tile, dry wall, and insulation until she was able to create a hole large enough to get her arm through so she could wiggle the handle of the door. Bingo. It worked (and it only took eight hours.)


As soon as she got out, Perrin contacted her husband (former Washington Redskins running back Lonnie Perrin,) and daughter to let them know of her ordeal.

Now she is resting comfortably at home nursing a few scrapes and bruises but ecstatic that she was able to escape her tomb.

“I came undone,” Perrin admitted to ABC News. “I was crying.  I felt like I was escaping a bad dream, like when you have a nightmare and you wake up and your heart is pounding and you realize, ‘Oh, I was just dreaming. Did that just happen. Am I OK?’”

Check out the story and video report at NewsOne.




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