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Brendan Sullivan Says “Thank You” With Flowers

The Williams & Connolly senior partner shows his appreciation for (finally) functioning escalators.

Brendan Sullivan. Photograph by Vincent Ricardel.

Everyone in the Washington area who rides the Metro has an escalator story, and generally it’s about them not working. Brendan Sullivan, senior partner at the law firm Williams & Connolly, is no different—except for what he does when they are working.

The Williams & Connolly building is located at 12th and G Streets, Northwest, above the Metro Center station. More than 600 employees work for the firm, many of them commuters. Sullivan says, “We’ve been here ten years, and the escalators have been broken 80 percent of the time. There’s always one working, but only one. It’s pathetic how often they’re broken.” He says the firm has complained “hundreds of times.” In fact, Williams & Connolly has staffers who keep track of the breakdowns.

But Sullivan says a “miracle” happened this week: Both escalators were running—one up, one down. How did he mark the occasion? He sent a $100 bouquet of flowers to Richard Sarles, the general manager and CEO of the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority. An accompanying letter said, “Williams & Connolly thanks you and your team. This week marks the first time since June 2011 in which both escalators are working at the same time, up and down.”

We tried to get a comment from Sarles, and phoned the WMATA main number three times, but each time, after dozens of rings, there was no answer.

Update: Friday afternoon, we heard from Dan Stessel, director of communications for WMATA. He said, “If this sparks a trend, it’ll be a boon for florists in town with all the work we’re doing fixing and replacing escalators.” Bold words to put out there. He added, “We’re glad to see good work get noticed.”

Alas, WMATA did not accept Sullivan’s flowers due to a “no-gift” policy.

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