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Watch one of LA’s last elevator operators in action

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Ruben Pardo has been driving the elevator at the Wilshire Tower for 40 years

Ruben Pardo, one of the city’s few remaining elevator operators, has been brightening people’s days at Miracle Mile’s Wilshire Tower (the longtime home of Desmond’s department store) for more than 40 years. Now, thanks to the folks at Dress Code, a New York-based production company, he can brighten your day for the next four-and-a-half minutes.

A new video profiles Pardo as he does what he’s done for most of his life: drives an elevator, keeps the lobby clean, and chats people up as they make their way up and down the building’s classically Art Deco tower. It’s a simple routine, but the 74-year-old doesn’t seem to have too many complaints. When a rider asks him how his day is going, Pardo replies, "up and down," with a laugh.

It’s a joke he was using back in 2011, when he was the subject of a profile in the Los Angeles Times. We imagine he’s made good use of it over the years. Even before arriving at the Wilshire Tower, Pardo was operating elevators at the Rosslyn Hotel and another deco icon down the road, the Bullocks Wilshire store.

Long after both Desmond’s and Bullocks have closed, it’s nice to know Pardo remains as a reminder of those curious old days when the city was just discovering the automobile, department stores were the tallest buildings around, and people actually talked to one another in elevators.