So other than our crazy Necromancy Lady we haven’t had a lot of crazy guests lately. And crazy guest stories are one of my favorite things about being in the hotel business. Reading the Hotel Opus blog and this post in particular has made me want to share more of the stories I’ve collected in this business. So I decided to dig into the vaults of my mind and pull out an old favorite that I haven’t shared on the blog before. This is likely to be the first of many.
I was still a Front Desk Agent and was working at a medium-sized high-end (major brand) resort. I usually worked the swing shift, 3 PM to 11:30 PM in those days because it complemented my school schedule. I hadn’t been at this resort long, I was only a couple of weeks out of training and just starting to work solo. In fact I still hadn’t decided I was going to make a career out of this business. I was still thinking my plan was to become a lawyer.
On this particular evening, I was manning the Front Desk by myself. The mid shift had gone home already, as had my departmental manager. We were short on managers at that time so the properties Director of Operations was in his office and occasionally walking around as the property manager on duty (MOD). There was a large corporate group in-house, and while they hadn’t bought out the hotel, they had the majority of it and they had taken over the lobby that evening. I can’t remember if it was an official event of not.
I was working through my check-list of shift duties when a lady swayed her way up to my desk. I won’t lie, I had already noticed her in the lobby. She was sitting on a couch with an older gentleman dead center in my eye line whenever I looked up. And though she was at least 20 years older than my 19 or 20 something, she still looked pretty good. Definite Cougar territory. Although with the haze of memory it might have been a “Good from far. Far from good” type situation. She and the gentleman on the couch had been there for quite a while and had worked their way through several glasses of wine, and they had gotten a little more cozy with each one.
I smiled at the Cougar and said “Good evening. How may I assist you?” as I had been trained.
“Can you give me a room for like half an hour so that my boss and I can go screw.” I swear on Captain Picard’s bald head those were her exact words.
My mouth dropped open and just hung there for a second before I could stammer a reply, “Ummm…uh…I can’t just give you a room. I’d have to charge you something.“
“Really?” she pouted “We really just need it for 20 minutes so we can go make love.”
“Really. The room would have to be cleaned. I can find you my lowest rate, but it couldn’t be free.” I insisted.
“Well what would that be? Because we just need it for 15 minutes so we can go fuck.” She was getting a little testy with me now and the booze was starting to show through her sober act.
I guess I could have told her, “We’re a 4 star resort. We don’t have hourly rates let alone rates by the minute.” But I didn’t. I looked through my rate screen and found the lowest rate that I could justify handing out to a walk-in that night.
“It would be $195 plus tax.” I said after half a minute of scanning my screen.
“We just need the room for 10 minutes,” She pleaded. At this point I’m thinking, Damn, give the guy a little credit.
“I’m really sorry, but that’s the best I can do.” I replied. I tried for a sympathetic smile, but either it missed the mark or she didn’t appreciate it.
“Is there anyone else you could ask? It’ll just take 5 minutes I promise.” I’m not sure how the damsel in distress routine is supposed to work in this situation.
As I mentioned before, the MOD for the property was our Director of Operations, a man I had had almost no interaction with since my interview with him. He seemed nice enough, but I did not want to call him and ask this question. So I lied.
“I’m sorry. There’s no one else for me to ask. It’s just me. That’s really the best I can do.”
Maybe she smelled the lie. Maybe she was just a dirty horrible person, but she scowled at me and said “Fine. I guess my kids will just have to wait down in the lobby.” And then stomped off in a huff like I was some kind of monster.
My jaw dropped open again and hung there for considerably longer this time. Really? I’m a bad person, because you’re sleeping with your boss and making your kids wait in the lobby is your best option? Gee, I wonder why they couldn’t go back to his room? And was making your kids wait in the lobby really the only other alternative? One of you two must have a car.
The bellman on duty that evening had been lurking in the back office and slowly came around to the front of the desk equally as astonished. He had been at that property for nearly 16 years at that point and so I asked him, “Do you think I should have just given her a room?” Maybe I was just way off the mark here. He busted up laughing at that point and said, “No, I was surprised you offered the rate you did.”
He and I did a quick instant replay of the conversation. The bellman also threw in some extra juicy information. He had checked the lady into her room that day, but had also helped her husband out when he had come and dropped off the kids with her last-minute. There were 5 kids up there ranging from 3 to 12. I wonder why her husband dropped them off last-minute? Hmmmmm….
We both laughed for a few minutes until the bellman finally asked, “What are we supposed to do if she sends her kids down here?” He was a dad and a little conservative and after our chuckle was a little outraged. “Shouldn’t we call child protective services? It’s just wrong.”
I shook my head in befuddlement. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Maybe they’ll think of a better solution.”
So twenty minutes goes by, and no kids show up in the lobby. I breathe a little sigh of relief. Another guest comes in and checks in with me, and the bellman shows them to their room and helps with their luggage. He comes back afterwards his jaw hanging open in astonishment.
“What?” I asked with a sinking feeling in my stomach. The new guests checking in had been just a couple of doors down from the Cougar.
“There are 5 kids in pajamas sitting outside room ### in the hall.” He whispered. “And I could hear the mom and her boss inside the room from the hallway.” ICK!
I winced and sighed. “I’ll call the MOD…”
I gave him the Reader’s Digest version of what happened over the phone. He was only slightly less astonished than me. He said he’d have security check it out, and if the kids were still in the hall, that we’d have to interrupt the Cougar. By the time security arrived the kids weren’t in the room. I guess her original time estimate was pretty close to the mark. I’m told that security knocked anyways and explained to the Cougar that her children can’t be left unattended in the halls or any public areas of the hotel.