Baby born in an elevator turns 17

10 News covered his birth nearly two decades ago, and sat down with the family to reflect on that day

ROANOKE, Va. – 17 years ago, Joel Spencer made an entrance to remember.

“I was in shock. I’m gonna be honest, I was in shock,” Joel’s mom Yaya said.

His mom, Yaya Spencer went to the hospital thinking she was in labor, but was sent home.

A short time later, she was back — with not even enough time to get to a bed. Her husband Joey said he was moving as fast as he could.

“Dad acted like he had the baby,” Yaya said.

“I was trying to push the buttons on the elevators, and I had no idea what floor to go to,” Joey said.

But before they could get to labor and delivery — Joel was born, right there in the elevator. Yaya said it felt like a movie.

“All of a sudden I just heard something crying and I looked and knew it wasn’t our oldest, and I looked down and our son was hanging off of the wheelchair. I was very delirious,” she said.

10 News was there that day all those years ago, and we sat down with the family to see how they’re doing now.

Joel is a junior in high school, exploring extra-curriculars.

“I do karate, and I help kids learn karate which is fun. I go to school, and I just enjoy things teenagers do,” Joel said.

Joey and Yaya tell me they’re proud of who their son is becoming.

“He’s grown into a nice young man. He’s taller than us. Just seeing the talents and the gifts that he has is amazing,” Yaya and Joey said.

And for Joey? He gets to remember Joel’s birthday as the greatest gift year after year because Joel was born in the elevator on his dad’s birthday.

“What a great birthday present too just from that standpoint. The material things don’t even compare,” Joey said.

Joel’s parents share the story of his dramatic birth every single year, but Joel said he doesn’t think much of it.

“It embarrasses me a lot but I just kind of ignore it and accept it for what it is,” Joel said.

But that won’t stop Joey and Yaya from sharing the story again and again.

“I was thinking last night I would do it again. Just for Joel, no more children, just for Joel,” Yaya said.

About the Author

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.

Recommended Videos