Hotel front desk employees see it all. They see us when we stumble in from the airport looking for a bed, or when we wake up in the morning all dressed and ready to go exploring. They especially see us during the midnight hours when everybody is ready for a party. Throughout all this, the front desk staff is supposed to be nearly invisible. But if you cross them—watch out.
1. Godspeed And Good Luck
Who loves bridezilla stories? Because boy, do I have one! Buckle up: it involves shoplifting, the end of at least two relationships, a very long visit from your friendly neighborhood officers, a few evictions, and a ton of overtime for my employees. It was like we were hosting a live version of the Jerry Springer show or something.
Needless to say, there’s going to be an employee appreciation party very soon since none of them walked out on me when all the crazy stuff happened. The hotel I work at has 132 rooms and the wedding party that stayed with us last night had rented out 70 of them. But that’s not all! We also had not one, but two school sports teams in-house that were renting a combined total of 30 rooms.
Our hotel was very much bursting at the seams. Since each group wanted to be as far away from the other as possible, we had to pack regular travelers between them all. Party hardy am I right? Hindsight is 20/20, and we should have realized we were in for a storm two days ago. The bridezilla, her groom King Kong, and the wedding party of monsters all checked in then.
The men asked for one of our largest suites for a bachelor party while the women checked into another for their bachelorette party. We fully expected the men to cause a riot because they were hauling in drinks literally by the keg. We were so, so wrong. In reality, the bridezilla and her bridesmaid minions were the ones that went on a rampage.
Not only did they tally up a total of three noise complaints (the fourth one gets you evicted) and over $100 worth of pantry charges, but they actually paid a group of kids $20 each to run up and down the hallways. I can only suspect it was because they meant to use the kids as a distraction from their own roughhousing.
The employee on duty that night said a guest came down to report that they thought the room was being used to film a Girls Gone Wild video. But the sun eventually set, and I came into work for my morning shift the next day. Stupidly, I didn’t see all the red flags sailing right in front of my face. Less than 15 minutes into my shift, the bridezilla’s maid of honor came down.
She saw me standing behind the desk and wearing a nametag, so naturally, she treated me like I wasn’t a human being. After all, people who work in customer service are just robots in cheap flesh-suits, beep-boop…Anyway, she chewed me out a little bit for my employee’s “despicable behavior” last night towards herself and her friends.
I ran through my programming and said, “We’re sorry if you felt disrespected and insulted,” but I also informed her that her room had multiple noise complaints against it. “We’re very strict on our noise policy ma’am,” I told her. “You aren’t the only guests in the hotel and if you cannot be courteous to our other guests, we will kindly ask that you seek other accommodations.”
The bridezilla’s maid of honor didn’t like when I said that. She responded, “Well, it’s just my opinion, but as someone who’s a part of a wedding that brought your hotel more than 60 rooms worth of business, I think you guys should be a little more lenient with the rules for us.” Unfortunately, my sass module was not installed at the time due to a lack of sleep.
So instead of going “Minnesota nice” on her, I told her, “We’re trying to provide a consistent experience to all guests. I know you guys are throwing a party and it’s a happy time for many of you, but we cannot bend on our noise policy.” After that exchange, she handed me a list of more people who were arriving and she wanted me to assign them to specific rooms. She told me I had to make sure certain people aren’t rooming too close together. Then we got into the dirt.
Some of the incoming guests were previously linked to the existing guests, so there was drama there…but they promised to behave themselves if they didn’t have to look at each other. Now, I may just be a simple robot that cannot consume liquid beverages, but in my opinion, I don’t believe exes and drinks mix well. The maid of honor also asked for housekeeping to come up ASAP to clean their trashed room, because they were going to use it as a prep room for the wedding.
The housekeeping executive didn’t show up for another hour, and I refused to leave the desk to spend time cleaning their room. I told her she’d have to wait a bit until someone came in, to which she responded, “I really think a hotel this big should have someone always on duty for stuff like this.”
By that point, it was 9 am; basically the dawn of the second day. And would you believe it, people for the wedding were already showing up to check-in! It was just wonderful that all these people were so punctual that they came an entire six hours early, just so they wouldn’t be late! Graciously, we were not full the previous night, so I allowed them all to check into rooms as they showed up.
But do you want to know what I honestly thought? They all looked like clones of that woman from the “That’s my OPINION” gif, and I did not want to test how well my eardrums could stand up to a whole choir of sirens. The small highlight to the busy morning is that there was a professional who came in to do hair and makeup for all the kids involved in the wedding party.
She did up flowers in all the girls’ hair and they all looked freaking adorable running through the breakfast area. They were so excited to show off their new dresses to anyone who walked past them. I hoped the bridezilla wouldn’t influence those kids’ behavior too much. The rest of the morning passed by in a flash, and I’d checked in at least 40 of the 75 arrivals we had for the day.
The worker taking over the evening shift arrived and I caught her up to speed on the state of things. I even offered to stay late and help her, as I expected it to get even crazier once the wedding started. She declined and said she’d be fine. She would come to regret it—big time. At 5 o’clock, she had a line of people out the door, all of them a part of the wedding group, screaming at her because they were late for the wedding.
More than five women were demanding that she give them keys so they could change in the rooms without having to bother with trivial things like payment or signatures. She was a trooper and stood her ground, asking all of them to wait their turn to check-in. My houseman on duty even offered to help her if she signed into the second computer for him, but that small ray of hope was quickly squashed.
A mother on the third floor came down to inform us that her son had swallowed a large quantity of pool water. The pool water upset his stomach and he ended up vomiting all over the elevator and third floor. That was the very same floor that the wedding party was assigned to, so he had to go deal with that. Once that rush was over, all was quiet for a few, peaceful hours.
Then, it was time for the shuttle to pick them up. Weddings usually all follow the same pattern: they ask for shuttle service from 8 pm until 1 am and are happy to pay our outlandish fee for the private use of the shuttle. Then, no one bothers to use it until 11 pm; at which point the drinks make them view the shuttle as a clown car and they all believe they’ve joined the circus.
Tonight followed that same pattern with only one exception. At 8:30, the driver had a single woman ride it back to the hotel, sobbing her eyes out. She told him that she saw her fiancé making out with her cousin behind the reception hall and she couldn’t believe it. He tried to offer her comforting words on the way back, but I was told it was an all-around awkward 15-minute ride.
When she got back to the hotel, she demanded the front desk employee take her car off the file and make her ex-fiancé pay. We didn’t do what she asked because we needed him to come down himself and slide his card. The chances of that happening were slim to none. As my shuttle driver was busy acting as the Ronald McDonald clown bus, stuffing close to triple the proper capacity into it (since not a single one of them bothered listening to him), a whole other nightmare was happening in the hotel.
Remember those sports teams that I mentioned earlier? One of the two teams had rented out a conference room to have a pizza party in. They were informed several times that they only had the room from 5 pm until 9 pm, so after the children stuffed themselves full of pizza, they ran off to use the swimming pool.
As I’m sure you’re all aware, global law states that if you’re at a hotel for your kids’ sporting event, you are allowed to get completely wasted. And I mean absolutely gone. At that point, the hotel staff is supposed to babysit your gremlins so you can party like you’re 21 again. Isn’t that swell? Our houseman was trying to get the kids to behave themselves and stay quiet in the pool, while the front desk was threatening to evict the parents.
It was 10:30 pm at that point and “Party in The USA” by Miley Cyrus was being blasted from the conference room, so we had to kick them out. Meanwhile, the one, singular mother who was actually being responsible stopped by the desk with about 20 bottles of Diet Coke and her son. Apparently, our vending machine had broken on the second floor.
She said that her son put in the money, and then proceeded to press the button a hundred times while waiting for his soda. He must have had the strategy guide for that vending machine downloaded to his phone because he knew just the right amount of times to push the buttons so that the machine would continue spitting out pops.
The son did it about two more times before the mother realized he shouldn’t have been able to buy 20 pops with only $5. She forced him to bring them all down to the desk and apologize for taking them. In the meanwhile, the other parents back in the conference room had been waving off the front desk’s threats until we finally get a lucky break. The night audit came in a half-hour early because the weather was bad and she didn’t want to be late.
My night auditor has plenty of years under her belt and has seen far worse. She called the authorities within seconds of walking in and informed the sports parents that she was doing so. When officers arrived, the parents had all belligerently returned to their rooms, and the evening shift was able to go home after that stressful day of work. But that’s when the real fun started!
The officers got called away only a few minutes after arriving, but we knew exactly where they went after that. They actually got called to the reception hall where the wedding was being held! Apparently, they needed to shut down the bar because the parents were buying drinks for the kids who were underage. Plus, one of the kids who was drinking became heavily intoxicated, took the keys to his mother’s car from her purse, and crashed it into another car in the parking lot.
The kid was fine but he probably suffered a wicked hangover this morning. The reception hall had called the officers to kick them all out, and that’s when they became our problem again. See, the driver, who should have still had pick-ups at 12, 12:30, and 1, now had to pick them all up at 12. There were at least 35 people cramming into the bus.
Each of them was holding a glass with at least half a pint of liquid in it. That’s when the driver put his foot down. He turned off the shuttle and told them they weren’t allowed to have open beverages while in the vehicle and that he would not drive them back until they all disposed of them. Needless to say, that didn’t go over well. None of them listened to him and just berated him to bring them back because it was cold.
One of the officers on site came over and told the driver that they’d be willing to escort him back and would overlook the many passengers and their drinks, just so they could get the people inside. When the shuttle and the entourage showed up at the hotel a half-hour later, it was like unleashing Pandora’s Box upon the building.
Four officers even stayed around to help the night audit deal with all of the disorderly people because there were a lot of complaints. The first complaint came from someone on the first floor—apparently, someone was attempting to do an amateur remake of 50 Shades of Grey and was not being subtle about it.
Then there was the screaming, yelling, and breaking of lamps. Remember that cousin who broke up someone’s relationship earlier? Well, she apparently had a fiancé of her own. And while she was doing the nasty with that other man, her fiancé walked in on them. It didn’t end well, and we had to evict all three of them. Keep reading…
Meanwhile on the third floor, Girls Gone Wild had resumed in full force. The night audit went up with one of the officers to tell the group that they were receiving their final warning before their eviction. While she was doing so, a man in the room across the hall opened his door to yell at the night audit.
His exact words were: “Why are you dragging me out of bed? Do something about this noise!” Before the officer could say anything, the night audit spun on him and said, “You got out of the bed of your own volition, sir! We’re dealing with the situation.” It was all the same song and dance for the next few hours.
When more people called in to complain, the audit and officers dealt with it. Apparently, the officers were having a slow night and two of them stayed until the night audit was done since she didn’t feel safe on her own. My houseman stayed until 3 am to clean the hallways because they were trashed with a capital ‘T.’
We don’t know what 310 was doing in their room at 4 in the morning, but 210 swore all the way to Sunday that they were practicing an Irish gig. But the crazy thing is that when the audit got up to the room, the entire floor was silent. Towards the end of the evening, a man came down to our pantry, took an arm full of random items, and started walking away.
The officers watched him bewilderingly and the night audit called out, asking the man if he would like to charge his items to his room. The man must have actually been three deer in a trench coat because he sprinted off the second she asked. An officer caught him, but he was so out of it that our night audit took pity and said that we wouldn’t press charges. She asked the officer to just escort him back to his room.
Today, I came in at 7 am and was brought the speed. I gotta say, seeing an officer standing around at the front desk did not do my heart any good. The morning was quiet…too quiet. And then, I heard it—the heavy stomps down the staircase; the screaming agony of a stomach demanding food; the bridezilla descending into the lobby with a hunger.
A hunger that could only be satiated by screaming at me. So I just took it, listening to her scream and demand that everyone in her party be refunded. All 70 rooms. She couldn’t believe that we had the audacity to call the authorities on her friends and family. “It’s a wedding!” She shouted over and over. “We’re supposed to have fun, not be treated like a bunch of dogs!”
I really didn’t want to deal with her, so I told her: “Ma’am, you must keep it down, or else I will have to call the officers back. Our employees were verbally threatened by some of your guests last night and did not feel safe.” I wanted to say that if they didn’t want to be treated like dogs, they shouldn’t act like dogs, but I felt that may be a little too unprofessional.
Finally, the wedding party began to check out…but not before they trashed breakfast. There was food dropped, coffee spilled, and my two breakfast attendants swear it was done on purpose. When they were cleaning up some spilled coffee, a bridesmaid knocked over another cup of coffee, and they all snickered at them. What is this, Mean Girls 2?
And that is my tale of the bridezilla. I’ve already gotten two emails from our guest relations department saying that there have been complaints opened up against us, but they’re both from members of the wedding party, so all I have to do is submit a copy of the police report and I think we’ll be good.
I pray that all of you will never have to deal with bridezillas of your own. And if you do, Godspeed and good luck.
2. The Silver Lining
This story took place four years ago when I was 19. I lost my mom when I was six; yet, despite the young age, my memories of that time are very vivid. I remember the lack of kindness that seemed to be everywhere. It was also the first time that I saw my father cry. This one guest reminded me of that time, and I wanted to make sure he knew he wasn’t alone.
I was raised in the hospitality industry. My dad buys old hotels, fixes them up, then sells them again. During the fix-up process, he keeps them operating like normal hotels. As his oldest child, it was usually my responsibility to help keep things running. The incident with the guest took place after I decided to stretch my wings and work for a hotel not owned by my family.
I was alternating between the second and third shifts at this hotel. Now, at the time, I had my hair dyed a ridiculously bright red, like fire truck red. While my boss had been hesitant to let me keep it, I never got anything but compliments from guests. This particular hotel was located near a hospital and offered a discount shuttle service for people with relatives at the hospital.
During one of my second shifts, this man came to check-in. He said he was staying for a week with the hospital rate and looked very distressed. His English wasn’t great, but he did his best. Several times during the process, he mentioned how much he liked my hair. He also got very talkative about why he was staying there, and since it was a slow night, I indulged him. His story broke my heart.
It turned out that his wife had been flown to our hospital from Puerto Rico. After he checked in, he went to the hospital to check on his wife and stayed there for a while. I was still on shift when he returned and he asked me where he could get some food. I gave him a list of restaurants that delivered to us. He asked which was my favorite and what I liked to eat there, then wandered off to make his call before lingering around the lobby waiting for the delivery.
When the delivery showed up, he brought his food to the desk and set a box in front of me. He told me that he hadn’t eaten dinner alone in years and he wasn’t ready to start. He had ordered the food that I told him was my favorite and was hoping that I’d be able to eat with him. Since my relief had shown up already, I clocked out early and sat in the breakfast room with the guest to eat our food.
Every night after that was the same thing. He’d come home from the hospital and ask me to order food for him so he’d get the front desk discount, and I’d order my own food. His wife wasn’t doing well and he ended up having to stay with us for almost two months. We had dinner together every night. I lived two blocks away and would come in on my days off.
The guy was really nice and really lonely. Apart from his wife, none of his kids were able to get to the US. He called me “Red” even after I’d changed my hair and would tell me all about his life in Puerto Rico. After a lifetime of bad guests, it was a really great experience. His wife ended up passing in the hospital.
He made sure to wait for me to come into work before he left so he could thank me for the dinners and let me know that I’d made a hard time a little bit better.
3. No Show, All Idiot
I work at a big name hotel in a beach town. In the summer, our rates skyrocket to almost $300 a night and we are usually sold out. Someone booked two rooms for a long weekend and decided not to show up. Our no-show policy is pretty standard—a night’s cost for each room booked. So this gentleman was charged over $500 total for his two no-show rooms.
It sucks, and it’s a lot of money, but it’s 100% his fault. The gentleman called me a couple of weeks later when he got his credit card bill. I explained to him our policy and that he wouldn’t be getting a refund. He went off. “You don’t know who you’re messing with,” he told me. “I’m not paying you, idiot.” Eventually, he told me he was just going to dispute it with his credit card company.
This is basically what I said to him: “If you want to dispute the charge with your bank, you have every right to do that. I would not personally recommend it though. If this was a case of a stolen credit card, I would agree with you, but we have documentation showing you were informed of the no-show policy. However, if you wish to pass this issue along to the bank, I will gladly deal with them.”
When you dispute a charge, the bank will front you the money while they investigate. When he got money from the bank right after he filed a dispute, he called me to GLOAT. He told me how stupid I was, etc. What I don’t think he understood is that the money is pretty much a loan, under the assumption that his charges really were genuine…which they weren’t.
I easily won the dispute, proving that he wilfully did purchase these rooms and that he was informed of the no-show policy. Then the bank billed him back for the money they fronted him. He called me again. Lucky me. He told me that the bank was billing him and that I had to pay it. He claimed that because it all started with my hotel, it was our responsibility to pay his bank bill.
At this point, I didn’t even know what more to say. I just said, “No, have a good day” and hung up. Later on, he called AGAIN, saying that his credit card company was threatening to turn over the bill to collections if he didn’t pay. Now he wanted us to pay $800 because of the interest. I told him that his personal finances were his own business and to stop calling. I tried to warn him in the beginning.
4. Like A Dog With A Bone
I’ve worked in a hotel for over a decade. The other night, I had a guest come down to the lobby and listen to music on her phone. She didn’t have headphones and the music was very loud with explicit lyrics, but it was a fairly slow night and I didn’t want to give her trouble, so I let it go on for about 10 minutes.
Eventually, the lounge closed and three stragglers came walking through the lobby back to their rooms. A few glanced between me and her with a strange look. I just raised my eyebrows to them in acknowledgment, but at this point, it still didn’t seem like a huge problem and it wasn’t bothering me. Minutes later, one of my last arrivals came in.
It was an older lady with the air of someone who would definitely leave a review with nothing but complaints. Right off the bat, the music from the phone got ridiculously explicit. I started hurrying to check this woman in as fast as possible while she was evil-eyeing the lady on the couch and shaking her head in disappointment at me.
I finally got her checked in and she left for her room, but at this point, I realized I had to do something. I politely addressed the lady on the couch. “Ma’am, I’m sorry but the sound on the phone will have to be off while you’re in the lobby.” She shrugged, got up, and walked to her room. That actually went well, right? Cut to the next night.
I ran to the kitchen for about five minutes to help the restaurant staff close a few things down for the night, and as I was walking back to the desk, I noticed the same girl sitting on the couch with a guy about her age on the couch next to her. They both appeared to be in their mid-20s—way too old for childish behavior—but I immediately knew that’s what I was about to get.
As I said hi to them, I noticed the girl look at the guy and nod. He nodded in return. It was obviously an attempt at clandestinely saying, “Yep, that’s the guy.” Oh good, what’s this gonna be? I got behind the desk and braced for what these two were about to do. The guy asked the girl something along the lines of, “Hey, have you heard of such and such song?”
He was saying it loud enough for me to hear, in a tone that was so obviously planned and staged. He then told her he’d play it for her, and immediately started blasting some weird song from a genre of music I can only describe as circus-themed EDM. I was not going to let this get to the point it did the night before, so I immediately told the guy the sound had to be turned off.
He replied, “I’m not going to turn it off, but I’ll turn it down some.” After some back and forth, he obliged to fully turn it off, then began having a conversation with the girl that was, again, aimed at me. They were basically throwing backhanded insults my way just loud enough for me to hear.
At one point, the girl actually called her mom on her cell phone and began talking about badly the hotel was mistreating her. Whatever, I was not easily offended and I’d seen my fair share of jerks. Eventually, someone coming from the lounge passed through the lobby while talking to someone on his cell phone. The girl yells at him and told him he was being too loud on his phone and was going to get kicked out.
That was enough for me…at that point, she was messing with business, so she had to go. I told them both that they were going to need to go to their rooms for the night, but they ignored me and acted like they didn’t hear. So I picked up the phone and pretended to dial security. Security doesn’t actually have a phone, but I was hoping the bluff alone would work.
It did, and they both got up quickly and scurried off to their room. But that wasn’t the end of the story. I got a call from my manager the next day asking me what had happened with these guests. He said that the girl’s mom drove to the hotel, demanded to see a manager, and screamed for 15 minutes about how rude I had been.
I told my manager what had happened and we shared a laugh. He told me if that if I had any more issues, I can go straight to the authorities and have them escorted off the property. Then came night three. The girl came back down to the lobby holding hands with another girl. They both made sure to hold their hands up so that I could see it and shoot me a passive-aggressive grin. I currently live up north, but I’m from the South and have a thick accent that most people immediately pick up on. I honestly believed that they were trying to bait me into saying or doing something homophobic, assuming that I must be a stereotypical southern Christian gay-hatin’ person or something.
They stood at our local brochure cabinet and “browsed” while talking under their breath. Not loud enough for me to hear, but I’m sure it was aimed at me. A few minutes later, the guy joined them and the conversation became loud enough for me to hear. It was definitely more insults thrown my way. At that point, I decided it was enough.
I told them they were going to need to return to their rooms or I would have security escort them off the premises. They demanded to know why, and I told them the truth as best as I could put it. “Because none of you have emotionally matured past middle school and I won’t sit here and be disrespected for a second night because you fail to understand why we can’t have curse words blaring in a place of business.”
The girl said something along the lines of, “Did you not learn your lesson yesterday? I guess I’ll have to call my mom again.” I told her to go ahead, her mom could be escorted off the property as well, and they stormed off to their room. I got a call from my manager the next day saying the mom came back for another go. He had promptly ended their reservation a day early. I love my manager.
5. Covert Operations
I’d been working as a front desk agent for about a week. It was my first time working at a hotel, so I was still learning the ropes even though I’d previously worked as a check-in agent for a cruise line. I was working the afternoon shift and things were pretty slow, with a couple of check-ins here and there. Then, at 7 pm, this lady came in.
After talking things out at the valet, she made her way over to me. We exchanged greetings and she told me she would like to reserve a room but “only for a couple of hours.” I let her know that the minimum of time she could reserve a room for would be a full night. After asking what the price would be ($240, which is way too much for the kind of hotel I work at, by the way) she agreed and handed me her credit card.
This is where things got… weird. As soon as I asked her for ID to make the reservation, she backtracked and says that she didn’t want her name anywhere on the reservation and would like to make it out under the name of the guy who would be joining her later instead. I paused for a moment, and after asking her again if she was planning on using the room as well, I told her that I at least needed to put her name into the accompanying list for the room.
I reassured her that only the employees would be able to see the list and that the guy she was planning to meet wouldn’t see it. Throughout this whole interaction, the woman was super composed, kind, and understanding. At this point, however, I was just thinking she came by for a one-night stand and didn’t want the dude to know anything about her because she was probably married or something.
I just thought, why not just actually get a motel, lady? This theory of mine was further solidified when she asked me to make a note on the reservation saying that if at any point we needed to address her by name around the dude, we wouldn’t call her by her real name. Instead, she gave me a fake name (or so I thought) to address her by.
I was obviously bewildered, but I was still trying to be accommodating. I tried not to let it show how much I was trying to figure out what the heck was going on. We got through the rest of the check-in process and she even went as far as showing me a picture of the dude so I’d know who he was when he came in.
I handed her the key and she headed over to her room. About an hour later, the mystery dude walked in. My co-worker (who had no clue of anything) ended up checking him in, so I didn’t really get to see much of him. To be honest, I still wasn’t giving the whole thing much thought other than, “That’s a bit weird.” Not even 30 minutes had passed since the guy went up when the woman came back down and handed me BOTH their keys.
She said “Thank you” in the most serious yet cordial way, then walked off. Multiple thoughts went through my mind as she made her way to the valet: “That was way too fast even for a quickie,” or “Why the heck did she give me two keys? Where’s the guy?” or “Please tell me she didn’t off him somehow.” Security was standing behind me staring her down and probably had the same thoughts.
My co-worker and I were whispering with each other, still trying to figure out what the heck happened because that did not look like a lady who had just had a pleasant romp in the sheets. Cue the guy coming down the stairs—we were like, “Okay, we can breathe, he’s not a goner.” Suddenly, though, we had an onslaught of distressed clients, so I never got to find out what really happened…
…Until the worker from the valet came over. Boy, did he have some tea to spill. It turned out, that the woman asked the valet guy to park her car in a way that hid her license plate from plain view. Apparently, the guy she had been talking to me about was her husband. You might be asking yourself by this point, “Why has this lady gone through so much trouble to hide anything that might give her identity away to her husband?”
Well, dear reader, the name woman gave me just so happened to be the name of the girl her husband was cheating on her with. This woman somehow got her cheating husband to believe that his “girlfriend” had booked them a sweet, sweet night at the hotel, only for him to show up and find his wife sitting on the bed instead.
The woman came back downstairs after probably ruining the heck out of him, with not a hair out of place I might add. She then patiently waited for the husband to get his sorry butt back to the lobby so that she could extend her hand and demand their house keys from him.
She later got into her car and just drove away. The only thing that would’ve made this even better was if the dude’s “girlfriend” had also been there to tear into him as well. I’d like to think she had a part to play in this whole thing, since how else would the wife have managed to trick him into getting to the hotel? Point is, this woman is all I aspire to be.
6. Not In My Rented Room
I worked in a hostel in Miami. I’ve learned to deal with a lot of different people. Some are eccentric, some are reserved, and some are just plain stupid. I’ve had a guest the past few nights who is obviously gay and sometimes tries to flirt with me. I personally have nothing against this—I actually find it flattering that he’s attracted to me.
But I do find it a little odd that he knows I’m straight and he still finds the need to flirt with me. I am a 6’1″ straight male and happily engaged to the love of my life. I am comfortable enough with myself and my own sexuality to not be at all bothered by this…but this other guest clearly struggles with that. At one point, the gay man came by and complimented my beard before heading into the guest-area kitchen.
Soon after, a man with a Scottish accent came to me with a complaint: “What the heck was that, mate? That queer just got all feely on you and you don’t have a problem?” I responded, “I’m sorry, sir, but how is that your business?” He said angrily, “Because a man like yourself shouldn’t have to be flirted with like you’re a pixie, mate.”
I stood back a bit, then told him, “I’m sorry that that bothers you, sir, but that is none of your concern. Please, enjoy the rest of your night.” That’s when things got really heated. “Oh, so you ARE gay,” he blurted out loudly. At that point, I just give him the ultimatum. “Sir, here we tolerate people of all backgrounds and sexualities. If you do not respect that, then you are welcome to find other accommodations for your stay here in Miami.”
He proceeded to flip me the bird and walk away to the guest area. Moments later, the man who was being a flirt came out and said that the guest came to the kitchen and called him and his friends’ names before he went to his room. I went after the guest to kick his dumb butt out, and he told me: “It’s fine, you queer-lover. I’m leaving anyway. This place doesn’t deserve my money.”
I proceeded to get his passport photo from our system and uploaded it to the group chat I was in with the other night auditors in the area. My new gay friend bought me some pizza and wings, so that was cool. After that, the rude guest tried to check into other hostels in the proximity and got rejected.
7. Bait And Switch
This happened back in April. Around mid-morning, an attractive young woman came into the lobby and asked for a key to her cousin’s room, who we’ll call “Shi-Shi Garcia.” Cousin: “Can I get a key to room 206?” Me: “Is Ms. Garcia here with you?” She sighed loudly and immediately lost her patience. Zero to sixty.
She badgered me for half an hour. She called someone who she said was Shi-Shi and put that person on speakerphone. Together, they badgered me in stereo. Eventually, I offered to check the camera footage to see if she was present at check-in. I thought this was a very generous solution to her problem; a definite grey-area loophole—but they didn’t see it that way.
The person on the phone said, “You’re really going to be that petty? Why can’t you just do your job and let my cousin into our room.” Finally, I snapped back: “Doing my job means your cousin plops down on that couch and waits for you to get back here to let her in. What I’m doing is extra. It’s special treatment. I’m being nice, and I don’t appreciate this.”
The cousin took the key, sighed loudly, and walked back to her room without even so much as a sarcastic “Thank you.” That could have been the end of it. It wasn’t. Five minutes later, Shi-Shi came into the lobby. This struck me as odd because I was told she was “hours away.” Never looking up from her phone, she asked for my name and my supervisor’s name and took the opportunity to slip in a few more derisive remarks.
After I said, “Have a nice day,” with perhaps too much bite, she told me she was going to get me fired. “What you did is illegal,” she said. I think she was trying to say that I shouldn’t have let the person in. Then, while I was speechless, she smugly turned on a dime like a model on the runway and strutted back to her room.
I called my manager. She was very sympathetic and laughed it off, reassuringly. I puzzled over it for a while, then grabbed my cell phone. I set it to record, took a deep breath, and knocked on Shi-Shi’s door. That conversation went like this:
Me: “Front desk here.” (Shi-Shi opens the door, holding her cell phone up to her ear, saying something inaudible into it).
Me: “Do you want me to call the authorities and oust this person from your room?”
Shi-Shi: “No no no—she’s actually in the restroom.”
Me: “Is it okay that she’s in here?”
Shi-Shi (innocently): “Yeah. That’s fine.”
Me: “Then why are you upset that I let her in?”
Shi-Shi (talking into the phone): “Hold on, can I—is there a way I can call you back or put this on hold or something?”
My goal was to bait her into saying that it was okay for the cousin to be in that room. She walked right into it. At the moment I knocked, she was actually on the phone with the hotel, filing a complaint about me—which is why she said, “Can I call you back?” She got off the phone as soon as I start asking questions. She followed me back to the desk where we talked a little longer.
I asked her to clarify why she was threatening me and she replied, “I’m just doing it to be a witch.” That conversation went like this:
Shi-Shi: “Okay.” (long pause)
Me: “So it’s okay that that person’s in the room?”
Shi-Shi: “That is correct.”
Me: “Then what’s the problem?”
Shi-Shi: “The problem is… your… customer relations.”
Me: “So it’s not that I let her into the room as you threatened me with earlier?”
Shi-Shi: “No, not necessarily… I’m doing it to be a witch if you want me to be honest with you.” The only reason I recorded this stuff was to defend myself against a write-up or worse. I was content to let the whole thing go. She had her key and filed her complaint, but my manager was on my side. Great.
The next day, after they checked out, housekeeping discovered that Shi-Shi and her cousin had taken all our pillows and left their own raggedy, old pillows in the pillowcases. Naturally, her card declined for the theft. Fine. At least that would be the end of it…Nope! Two days later, I saw Shi-Shi Garcia’s name on our arrivals list. Two adults. Oh, dear.
I called the phone number on file, expecting to have it out with her, but it was a man who answered. I told him we’d have to cancel the reservation because Shi-Shi and her cousin were not welcome at our hotel. He asked why and I told him the whole story—the key, the mistreatment, the “I’m just doing it to be a witch” comment, and the pillow swap. I did not mention the recordings.
He apologized profusely. He said they put their employees at our hotel all the time and we’d always been great. He thanked me, said he’d “talk to her,” and ended the call. The next day, I learned that man had been her boss’s boss. He called her supervisor, who called the hotel, and spoke with my manager.
My manager told him the whole story and mentioned the recordings. Ladies and gentlemen, it saddens me to tell you: Shi-Shi and her pretty cousin were let go. They were fired in a strange city, a thousand miles from home, in the middle of a business trip. Sad.
8. What A Day
I just came from the craziest shift I have EVER worked in a hotel. That’s an understatement. I work mid shifts for my hotel. When I went in the morning, my manager notified me that our system was down. I couldn’t check people in or out, give receipts, make reservations, etc. He was already on the phone with IT creating a ticket to get it back up and going.
An hour later, it started working. At that point, I was backpedaling and checking people out, helping the executive housekeeper change room statuses, etc. Out of nowhere, my system shut down again. I was locked out and couldn’t do anything. As this happened, the maintenance guy came to the desk with a bloody hand and said, “I just cut my hand on the roof. I’m going to the hospital to get it stitched up and I’ll be back.”
My whole management team had also gone to our sister property next door for a meeting so it was just me manning the desk. I texted my direct manager and let him know that everything had shut down again and that I’d been calling IT to get it back up. I called IT on the hotel phone so we could get rolling again. As I was on the phone, a guy walked in and said, “I have the meeting space booked, could you let me in?”
I switched to the handheld phone and walked over to the meeting space to open the door with my master key. It didn’t blink. Oh, God. Our maintenance guy was at the hospital. All of our managers were gone. IT was talking my ear off and the next thing I knew, the executive housekeeper called me on the walkie and said, “None of our doors are opening.”
So, at that point, I had: A guest trying to get into the meeting space, a broken system, and no master keys for opening doors. My next move was to call our sister property’s maintenance guy next door for help. He came by and immediately started working on the meeting space door. My managers then came back and also started helping where they could.
After about another hour, we finally got our system back up and in another 30 minutes, our doors were working. Great. I started playing catch up at 2:30 in the afternoon, trying to get everything done before the 3 pm check-in. Here’s where things went CRAZY. I was replenishing the coffee (this is important), then I went to check in a few guests.
This guy walked into the lobby and said, “Hi, I need to check on the status of my application.” I told him to wait a moment and grab the manager. She then explained to me that a homeless man named “Bob” often came in posing as an applicant so he could come in and take our cookies, breakfast cereal, bananas, coffee, etc.
He’d already been removed from the property multiple times and banned from returning, so at that point, he was blatantly trespassing. She came out and asked him to leave while she was on the phone with the authorities. He tried to argue back and forth with her until the officers arrived. They told him that he could not be on the property.
The man flipped out. He threw the coffee I had just made AT A GUEST. There were cookies and bananas all over my lobby floor, and a soda hit the lobby wall. Officers restrained him and took him away. I was about ready to pull out my hair in frustration, so I went outside. Just as I was exiting the door, my other manager came in on the walkie and said there was a man wearing jeans, a grey hoodie, and a grey hat on the property who just tried to attack a housekeeper on the elevator.
She told me to take one flight of stairs up while others were outside checking the parking lot and the first-floor common areas. By the time I made it to the third floor, my manager got on the walkie and said that the man had been restrained and that we could go back to our regular duties.
The maintenance guy and I happened to be on the same floor, so we both got on the elevator to go back down to the first floor. As it was going down, it stopped to let someone on. When I saw him, I nearly gasped. The man was wearing jeans, a grey hoodie, and a grey hat. The maintenance guy and I were looking at each other in disbelief. I just stood there thinking, “This has to be a coincidence.”
I asked the maintenance guy if they were sure they got the right guy and that’s when the worst happened—THE FREAKING ELEVATOR GOT STUCK. Right then and there, the grey hoodie man started chanting: “The United States. Suicide. Suicide. Suicide.” I LITERALLY CANNOT MAKE THIS UP.
So, of course, the maintenance guy grabbed me and pinned me in a corner in case the guy tried to attack. The maintenance guy was tall and well-built, so I knew that if grey hoodie man were to attack, he was going to have to go through him first. I got on the walkie and said the elevator was shut down and that the officers had the wrong guy.
Then, all hell broke loose. The manager was now freaked out and standing outside the door trying to pry it open. We were on the elevator with this guy for 45 MINUTES while the fire department tried to get us out. Grey hoodie man sat there and chanted the same statement over and over again. He never moved, he never looked at us. The man didn’t even know we were there.
I have NEVER been genuinely afraid of a guest. FINALLY, they got us off and I bolted to the back office to have the freaking panic attack I’d been holding in for the last hour. At that point, I had an hour left of my shift to go. I definitely needed the freaking hours, so I collected myself and went back to the desk.
Grey hoodie man was escorted off the property. We all assumed he was going to be taken to a hospital to be checked out because there was genuinely something wrong with him, but nope. I didn’t know this. Neither did the other staff members. We kept working, just trying to wrap things up so we could all go the heck home. Near the end of the night, I went to use the bathroom.
Y’all. I opened the freaking bathroom door and the grey hoodie man was SITTING ON THE BATHROOM SINK chanting the SAME statement. He came in the back door this time so the front desk did not see him. Needless to say, I lost my mind. I walked back to the lobby to find it FULL of high school students who had arrived for a school function.
All I could think of was, “Great, let’s call the authorities and freak out a bunch of teenagers.” I grabbed the maintenance guy again and told him that the grey hoodie man was back in the bathroom. He went to guard it while I called 9-1-e. in the back office. Finally, they came by and took the man to a hospital.
It turned out, grey hoodie man was a veteran who had just undergone a severe PTSD episode. My heart broke for this him. Thankfully, officers were able to take him to get the help he needed. Overall, I am done with today. I will be taking a very hot bath, drinking a full bottle of red, and then getting back up in the morning to go back to a literal dumpster fire.
9. Not All Heroes Wear Capes
The other day, I had a woman call me from Nevada asking about weekend rates. She wanted to come out and see her man who had been locked up in our town. He was recently transferred from another facility and it was more for economical to visit. When I did a quick check, my heart instantly dropped. Our room rates were ridiculous and I had no available discounts that I could offer her.
She gasped when I told her the price. I told her about a few hotels that she could most likely afford that were even closer to his location. We talked about how she was thinking of taking the Megabus to San Francisco, which was four hours away at minimum, and I also told her about an airline that could fly her for the same price. She’d be able to touch down 45 minutes south of where she wanted to be and still be able to take public transport into town to save her some cash.
She finally stopped me and said, “Girl, why you being so cool with me? I’m not even staying with you!” I said, “Ma’am I’ve done some time myself and I understand going to jail is expensive. I feel you because some of my friends have been locked up in places I can’t get to, so if I can help, I’ll help.” Her response lit up my day.
She started laughing and said, “You know what? You’re the nicest person I’ve talked to today. I said ‘prison’ to some other clerk and they hung up on me. My man was run up on a small charge, It’s some stuff I’ll tell you, but he’s getting out next year. When he does, I want you to plan my trip so I can pick him up. You’re really sweet and you know your stuff.”
I laughed and said I’d be honored. I wrote my name down for her and promised she’d get her a better rate when the summer was over. I then called the cheaper hotel that I suggested and let them know that she’d be calling. My girl V over there hooked the nice lady up. Sometimes, I can be a superhero.
10. Be Careful What You Wish For
I had a winner today. You know a customer is going to give you trouble when they strut in wearing a shirt that reads: “Public Land Owner.” My hotel is located inside a national park, so people like that always think they own the place. He went up to me and said: “I know the county has a burn ban going on right now, but since the lodge is on federal land, it doesn’t apply. So I can start a fire on the grass just outside my cabin, right?”
Me: “NO. NO, YOU MAY NOT. I’m not selling you any firewood now that you’ve established yourself as a fire risk in the middle of the forest.” Him: “WHAT?! I WANT TO SEE A MANAGER.” Me: “Well, I am manager, so it’s still no” Him: “Y’know, since this is federal land, I shouldn’t have to pay state and county sales tax. Take it off, or get me a manager who can.”
Me: “I’ve already told you—I’m the only manager on duty right now. If you look on that wall behind me, you’ll see that our business license is from the county, so you do need to pay sales tax because we are required to charge it.” Him: “But I’m from Oregon and we don’t pay sales tax there.” Me: “Well, you’re not in Oregon right now.”
Him: “Well, Washington State lets businesses waive sales tax for Oregon residents! Can you do that for me?” Me: “Do you have a tax-free ID from the US State Department?” Him: “No.” Me: “Then that’ll be $98.73. Will you be paying at the register, or charging this to your room?” Him: “Actually, I’m just checking out early. I don’t care what the policy is, just give me my deposit back. This place is a dump in the woods. I want something classy and this place is just embarrassing.” I was already annoyed at this point, but it just got worse.
Me: “Well, I can definitely break the cancellation policy for you, sir. I sincerely hope you find a hotel that meets your standards. But, uh, there’s an agricultural festival, a big bicycle charity ride, a baseball game, and a fishing tournament this weekend. It’s not like any other hotel the area would have rooms available on a summer weekend.”
I told him to have fun searching for another place that would have him. I guessed that the next available place was probably a two-hour drive away, but I may have forgotten to mention that to him. So anyway, four hours later, he came storming back in, demanding to know why his keys weren’t working. He demanded I give him his room back.
Unfortunately for him, I had already sold that room 15 minutes after housekeeping cleared it. I told him to get out before I called security. There was nothing else he could do, so he finally left me alone and that was that.
11. The Early Bird Special
I work at a two-star family hotel. In the winter, we close only for Christmas, which is when we get our three-week paid leave. During the colder months, there are times when there are local events, and since the surrounding islands have no good infrastructure, many guests book at city center hotels like ours.
It was almost November when this happened—we had no rooms available on one particular night, but a guest came in. For the sake of the post, let’s call him Greg. A thin, tall, businessman type of guy with a mafia mustache and glasses. He looked to be in his mid-50s with grey hair. From the way he spoke, I could tell he was very educated. He walked in just half an hour before my shift ended.
Greg: “Good evening, I have a room booked for me and I know I’m early but I can wait.” Me: “Not at all, the check-in desk is 24/7.” Greg: “Magnificent, I can check in now then?” Me: “Of course, your name please?” Greg: “Greg McGregor.” Me: “Hmmm, I can’t seem to find your name…” Greg: “Oh, it’s there for sure, I booked just an hour ago while I was waiting at the bus terminal at the airport.”
At that point, I vaguely remembered the fax that was sent in. Me: “Oh of course, but your reservation is for… tomorrow?” Greg: “That’s correct, that’s why I asked if I could check in now.” Me: “I‘m afraid you cannot check-in now, as the reservation is for tomorrow, and I don’t have any rooms for tonight to extend your reservation.” Greg: “It doesn’t matter, I can wait a few hours until it’s ready then! Can you point me to an outlet so I can plug in my laptop while I wait?”
Me: “Sir… the check-in time is after 2 o’clock of the day you have reserved. Not midnight the day before.” Greg: “I respectfully disagree. I am taking the room at 1:01 am just like you promised me.” At the time, I did not fathom what he was trying to say. I have had guests that believed they were entitled to the room at midnight…but why 1:01 am?
After much thought, I decided to check his reservation form directly. The request was auto-approved as we have configured auto-approvals for non-chargeable check-in or check-out times, but they are strictly for checking-in after midnight of the next day, not the previous.
Me: “This is an auto-approval message. It clearly states here and here that it’s for the next day, not the previous.” Greg: “No problem, I can check in at 2:01 am then.” Me: “I’m not sure you understand what I mean.” This is when he started getting spicy. Greg: “You think that you’re the manager here?” Me: “Actually, I am.” Greg: “I will post a negative review then for not keeping your word.”
Me: “Please exit the hotel now or I will call the authorities.” Greg: “Well, okay…I’m afraid you lost ONE MORE GUEST NOW. You may cancel my reservation for tomorrow.” He left as if he thought that all was well. Well, needless to say, he is not getting a refund. Don’t tick off the front desk, people.
12. Mother Knows Best
I was working as night manager at a large hotel. We had four overnight staff: me, a cleaner, the night auditor, and a security guard. The guard’s duty is to continuously walk the 10 floors and listen for noise incidents. Our hotel is very close to a plaza that is FILLED with bars, including a very sketchy country bar that is known for over-serving and not checking IDs.
We saw three or four ladies in their late 40s and a younger girl leave shortly after 11, clearly dressed for the country bar. I thought it was a little weird to go clubbing with your mom and her friends, but whatever. Just before 1 am, the younger girl and one of the older ladies returned.
It was pretty obvious that the younger girl was quite out of it, but they were being quiet, so I didn’t hassle them on their way to the elevators. 20 minutes later, the older lady was heading back out to continue the party with her friends. Then, 20 minutes after that, we got a call from the security guard that a woman was passed out on the floor in the hallway.
I headed up to the floor in question and sure enough, slumped against a room door was the young lady from earlier. She was unresponsive to our verbal commands until she started throwing up. We rolled her into the recovery position and called an ambulance. While waiting for the ambulance, the mother and her friends returned to their rooms.
We informed the mother that we called an ambulance for her unconscious, unresponsive daughter, who was throwing up. Her reply was wild. She started SCREAMING! “How DARE you call an ambulance? What are they going to think? My husband is a first responder and will find out!”
Now, the cleaner arrived with the EMTs, who started making sure the young woman could breathe. They loaded her onto a stretcher to take her to the hospital. One of them did in fact know the mother and that is when we found out the daughter was only 16!!!! The mother then walked off with the ambulance crew, crying.
That was, by far, the weirdest and most stressful night I’d ever worked.
13. Coming Clean
I will always remember this one scam artist I dealt with. I was working in Corporate Guest Relations and I received a VERY long email from a guest about their stay at our resort property in Mexico. It was a very nice, all-inclusive beachfront resort. She put a lot of effort into the email, which ended up being like a day-by-day account of her eight-night stay. It listed every possible complaint and included a huge collection of pictures as “evidence.”
It was several pages long, and it looked something like this: Day 1: The shuttle driver was rude. We had to wait 30 minutes to get checked in. The view was horrible, we couldn’t see the ocean. The sheets were dirty. The A/C was so loud I couldn’t sleep. There was a crack in the sidewalk outside our room.
My dinner was cold and there wasn’t any salt or pepper on the table. The shower has no water pressure. Day 2: We had breakfast and they were out of pancakes. My daughter’s favorite cereal wasn’t available. There were loud children playing in the pool all day. There was a light out on the pathway. I called the front desk to ask for more towels and no one answered.
I think housekeeping took money out of my purse. The chairs in the lobby were uncomfortable. One of the electrical plugs in my room didn’t work. Imagine a list with 100 more things from her eight-night stay. Now, some of the complaints seemed reasonable, but really, who spends their entire vacation making a log of everything they think is wrong with a resort? I contacted the manager to discuss the guest, assuming their system (which I could not access) would have all the logs from this woman’s complaints.
But there was nothing there. In fact, the entire time she was at the hotel, she never voiced any complaints. She merely logged them in her little “complaint diary” and went about her business. Many of her issues were extremely petty. For example, the “crack in the sidewalk” was about three inches long and flat on both sides. It wasn’t a tripping hazard, just a small crack.
The light out in the path—even in the picture, I could see that the area was still very well lit because they have lights everywhere in that area. Her room didn’t have an ocean view because she booked a courtyard view. The picture of the dirty sheets showed one tiny little black spot in the corner…Like, if you tapped the sheet with the tip of a pen or fine marker.
It took 30 minutes to check her in because she showed up three hours early and they had to get a room ready. The shower in her room was fine and the A/C unit was not loud at all. We looked into everything, talked to all of the department heads, and had the room she stayed in fully inspected. While the list made it seem like she had a horrible stay, there really wasn’t any substance behind her complaints.
Since this all seemed a bit fishy to everyone, I called the guest and spoke with her about her complaints. I told her that I had been in contact with the hotel and that we couldn’t find any record of her complaints. When I asked her who at the hotel she had spoken with while she was there, she confessed the shocking truth. She admitted she talked to absolutely no one.
I gave her my apologies and suggested that next time, she should express her complaints while on the property so that they could be immediately addressed. For example, housekeeping would have been happy to change out the “dirty sheets.” Keep in mind she was there for eight nights, at an all-inclusive resort with seven different restaurants, four bars, multiple pools, etc.
She probably never left the hotel, but she also never said a word about all the “problems” she was having. Note: 100% of the employees speak English, which is a requirement because it is an American hotel chain. So, in the name of customer service, I told her that we would like an opportunity to make things right. I offered her three FREE nights to come back in the future.
Nope, that was not good enough. She wanted a FULL refund ($6,500) and nothing less. I told her that I would get back to her. The next day, I informed her that the hotel would not offer a refund, but they were willing to add in another night, for a total of four free nights. Nope, unacceptable, she continued to demand a full refund.
We went back and forth. She wanted my manager, who then told her the same thing. The guest hung up on my boss after things got a bit heated. A few days later, she called again and wanted to know the status of her refund. Um, how do you give someone an update on something that’s never going to happen? She then said she was going to contact corporate.
I rolled my eyes and explained to her that I was the Corporate Guest Relations Coordinator. I am corporate. I spent forever on the phone talking with this woman, who just refused to accept the free nights and was bent on getting her money back. She just kept going back to her list… “Well, what about this” or “What are you going to do about that?”
I wouldn’t budge. It was four free future nights or nothing. Then, the unimaginable happened. In all my years of customer service, I have never had a scammer resort to telling me the TRUTH. When she finally realized she wasn’t getting a refund, she cried, “I can’t afford to pay for this, I don’t have the money! I don’t know what to do…You have to help me!”
I was like, “You… can’t afford to pay? Weren’t you planning on paying for your stay when you made the reservation? It’s not like we were charging you more than you agreed to…and we are still offering you free nights for your next visit…” She responded, completely broken and weeping: “I didn’t think I would have to pay!! I thought I would get my money back! I don’t know what I’m going to do… Please…You have to help me…I can’t pay for this…I’ve got kids…I need you to give me a refund. I don’t know what I’m going to do if I can’t get that money back…I can’t pay for this…”
The woman just admitted she planned all of this, thinking she was just going to complain her way into a $6,500 refund. Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but there is nothing I can do.” She replied, “I’ve got to get that money back, I’ve got to do something… you’ve got to help me out here…I don’t know what else to do…I don’t have the money…I can’t pay for this…”
Me: “Ma’am, you should have thought about that before you went on a vacation you couldn’t afford.” Yeah, I shouldn’t have said this, but I was just DONE with this woman. She had wasted enough of my time already, not to mention all the people at the hotel who looked into her entire list. She cried some more, then she started screaming, so I hung up on her.
Everything was noted. The call was recorded, so I went ahead and attached that file. She did send some hate mail to our corporate offices, but due to the fact that I had a RECORDING of her admitting she was trying to scam us, they ignored her letters. Oh, and her “frequent guest” membership was flagged and banned from all properties. We did not send her the free night certificates, either.
14. One Fine Day
This was many years ago, in a tiny town in Redwing, Minnesota. It’s a swanky river hotel that is usually fully booked a year in advance during high season. A couple came to the front desk (still in their wedding regalia) to check into their room along with other members of the wedding party. Well…nobody had remembered to book the room for the bride and groom.
Luckily, they did not blame us, as the best man acknowledged the lapse. We felt terrible as we were completely full, but we knew we weren’t about to send them away. Instead, we came up with an ingenious plan. We turned the library into a bedroom that night, complete with champagne. Housekeeping went over the top to make it beautiful.
In the end, they LOVED it and all were happy. I still remember how overjoyed they were that it worked out. Anyway, just wanted to share a “feel good” story from the front desk. We all have had so many bad ones to share.
15. The Buck Stops Here
I hate people who try to pressure me into kissing their butt over things I have no control over. Ain’t gonna happen. I’m probably in the wrong industry, but that’s why I’ll never be in management. This woman called down twice last night with noise complaints, telling me it sounded like people were in the hallway. I sent security up and he confirmed that her neighbors were being pretty loud. He proceeded to give them a warning.
The second time we received a complaint, he said it might have just been their noisy TV because they got really defensive that they weren’t doing anything. We also have a “three strikes, you’re out” policy, so one more call and they would have been removed. I got the feeling this lady was being a little fussy, but I didn’t hear from her the rest of the night…until she checked out.
Here was the interaction: Me: “Okay, you should be good to go.” Her: “Okay…pretty noisy on the third floor last night, huh?” Me: “Oh yeah, I’m sorry about that. I sent my security guy up when you called and it seemed to just be the neighbors.” Her: “Well it’s a shame. The property is nice but I might have to leave a bad review.” (Side note: No you don’t. Grow up.)
Me: “Yeah. Well, ya know there’s not much that can be done.” Her: “You can kick them out, that’s an option.” Me: “Yes, but we have to give them a chance, we can’t kick them out right away.” Her: “Well, it’s just a shame. I’ve been up for two hours already because of that and now I’m going to the airport.” Me: “Mhmm. Well, that’s just how it is sometimes.”
16. The Ballad Of Sam And Dale
On one Friday, two guys walked into my lobby asking how much a room would be for the night. They explained that they’d come from the bar and their ride had failed to show, so they were stuck for the night. One was sober and the other was clearly tipsy but not incoherent. We’ll call the sober one Sam and the tipsy one Dale.
As I was looking up rates and availability for the night, Dale was going on and on about finding Jimmy—”Where is Jimmy? Have you heard from him? I texted him a bunch of times. Maybe we should call Jimmy”—and he was clearly annoying Sam. At about the same time, I quoted them a price, Sam told Dale to go outside and call Jimmy to see if he could figure out where he is.
Dale stepped outside the lobby, dialing up their friend on his phone. Sam forked over his license and credit card. “Can we do this as quickly as possible?” I gave him the normal canned response; “I’ll get you into your room as quickly as I can.” The next thing he said stunned me. “I don’t want him to know which room I’m in,” he said, gesturing toward Dale outside the door.
“I see. I’m glad you said something; I would’ve given him keys too since you’re checking in together.” Sam stressed it again. “No, I really don’t want him to know what room I’m in. Can you please not tell him?” I responded, “If you tell me not to tell him, then I can’t tell him. It’s your room and you’re paying for it, that’s between you and the hotel.”
During this exchange, I was executing the check-in as fast as I could. I super compressed my spiel into a few seconds, stripping out all but the bare basics. I gave him his keys and, grabbing them hurriedly from my hand, he sprinted across the lobby to his room via the alternate exit.
A mere 30 seconds later, Dale came back in, noticed that Sam was gone, and asked me where he went. I said, “He’s not with you? Hmm, I wouldn’t know sir.” Confused, he asked, “Did he buy a room or not? Where is he?” Remembering what Sam told me, I just said, “I’m sorry sir, I’m afraid I wouldn’t know where he is right now. Maybe try calling him?”
He was not buying my lies: “I know he bought a room. Did. You. Give. Sam. A. Room. Or. Not?” I shrugged: “I’m sorry, if I had I wouldn’t be able to divulge that information.” This kicked off a literal five-minute back-and-forth of Dale repeatedly asking me which room Sam was in, and me repeatedly refusing to give him any details.
I don’t know why he fled from this guy, but it was my job to defend his privacy, so the dude didn’t get anything from me. During this exchange, a cab pulled up in front of the lobby and in came Jimmy who smelled terrible. The cabbie was also with him—we’ll call him Cabbie. Cabbie came to the desk and informed me as impolitely as possible that I needed to contact Sam and let him know his ride had arrived.
This gave me an imperceptible moment of pause because I knew that Sam was, in fact, waiting for a ride, but I also knew that he had expressly forbidden release of his whereabouts to these disreputable characters. I decided to keep my mouth shut about Sam’s whereabouts. Cabbie laid into her own demands that I released Sam’s information, which I refused to do.
At some point, she started cussing me out. She informed me that Sam had no money and couldn’t pay for his room anyway. “That card he gave you is no good!” Of course, this was laughable because no guest could check-in without their cards being authorized. When this tactic failed to scare me, she demanded to speak to a manager. I replied with my favorite showstopper: I am the manager.
She then stormed out while shouting profanities at me. “Come on, let’s go.” They pulled slowly out of my driveway and made a slow lap around the building before speeding off into the night. For a moment, I debated calling Sam to let him know I just saw his ride.
I decided against it because he’d already bought the room and I didn’t want to serve as an intermediary between him and his reprehensible friends. I thought it would be over here. It wasn’t. 40 minutes later, Sam came running back into the lobby with his button-up shirt still mostly off and his shoes in hand.
He was still putting his clothes on when he told me, “Hey, my ride is here. Since I’m not staying here tonight, I’ll need a refund for my room, okay?” I laughed and said, “I’m afraid I cannot refund your room since you’ve already bought the room and occupied it.”
“That’s ridiculous! I’m not even staying here tonight, why should I have to pay for the room?” I calmly explained, “You’ve occupied the room for 40 minutes now. You’ve consumed the product, so I’m afraid I won’t be able to refund you.” “He still wasn’t satisfied. “What about your cancellation fee? Can’t I just pay the cancellation fee and be refunded the rest? I’ll be happy to just pay the cancellation fee.”
“Unfortunately, our cancellation fee is one night’s stay, and since you’re only here for one night anyway, the cancellation fee is your room rate. I will not be refunding your room.” During this conversation, the cab showed up again and Cabbie, seeing Sam arguing with me, came storming back into the lobby. Jimmy and Dale were presumably still in the car.
A split-second before I got aggressive about putting a stop to that intolerable nonsense, Cabbie did it for me by yelling “Knock it off!” out of my lobby door. Sam quickly explained that he couldn’t get a refund for his room, which triggered an almost verbatim repeat of the immediately preceding conversation, this time between me and Cabbie who was much more profane about it.
While Sam has retreated across the room to put his boots on, propping them up on my sofa, Cabbie informed me that I was being extremely rude and that her friend worked at the same hotel in the next town over. She said she has never heard of them not giving a refund before. I was a few words into the “Each hotel is independent…” when she cut me off.
“I don’t care what your stupid policy is, you’re going to be refunding Sam’s room because he isn’t staying here tonight!” I held my own and said, “I’m afraid I won’t be doing that. He has occupied the room and will be charged for tonight.” Cabbie then said, “Then I want to speak to your manager. Get them on the phone right now.” I just replied, “I already told you, I am the manager.”
“No, I want to speak to YOUR supervisor! You’re gonna get me the district manager or corporate on the phone or I’ll have you fired!” I just scoffed and said, “I’m afraid it’s not up to them, and they would tell you the same thing anyway. I won’t be calling anyone at 12:30 in the morning. I’m the manager here, and the decision is final.”
“You said your cancellation policy is one night’s stay?” “That’s correct.” “Can I have that in writing?” “No ma’am.” “Why not?” “Because you are not a guest here.” This really ticked her off. She went wide-eyed and spluttered for a moment before shouting, “What is your problem!?” At this moment, Sam finished tying his boots, took his feet off of my upholstery, and stomped over to the desk.
He took over the conversation now. “I don’t consent to pay for the room because I’m not staying here tonight. You can’t charge me for something I’m not even using.” “Unfortunately sir, when you signed the papers, you purchased the room and agreed to pay for it.” “Can I see those papers then?” I pulled out his papers from the bucket where they had been filed an hour earlier and, stepping back from the desk so I would be out of his reach, I unfolded his registration card to show him that his signature was on the document exactly where he put it.
Reaching out for it, he demanded that I hand it over. “No sir, I’ll be keeping this. You signed for the room.” “I am entitled to any document I’ve signed! Now give me the form! I promise I’m not going to tear it up or anything.” “I will not be giving this to you.” “Can I have a copy then?” A moment’s thought passes as I try to imagine what the authorities would say if they were called for my refusal to provide a copy of the form that this guest did indeed sign.
“Yes sir, I’ll make a copy for you right away.” I had no idea if what he said was true. I didn’t think he was entitled to a copy after he left the transaction, but I couldn’t think of a good reason not to give him one. In any case, refusing to give him a copy of his agreement—especially one that was in dispute—would be dishonest. I made him a copy and but kept the original, which I slipped into a locked drawer under the desk.
I pointed out on the copied document the critical bits of information—the room rate and tax, the arrival and departure date, and his signature. After a moment, Cabbie snatched the paper out of Sam’s hand and read it over. She looked at me sternly and informed me that she’d be calling corporate tomorrow. Then she stormed out of the lobby.
Sam sighed and addressed me in a plaintive tone as he turned to leave. “Well, I hope you have another job because you’re not gonna be working here tomorrow. Good luck.” “Have a good night.” They sped away again. I waited for a moment, then caught my breath. I quickly wrote myself a key to turn off Sam’s door and ran up to his room.
Sure enough, the bed was turned out, the toiletries were opened, and someone had obviously taken a shower. How that qualified as “not using the room” evaded me completely. The story does end here, at last, with me adding the guest to our DNR list and double-checking the authorization on his card.
I still work here, and we have not refunded his room.
17. Tone Deaf
Each Sunday, the hotel hosts an afternoon tea for the grey set. This started after my shift ended. All was well when I left, but when I came in the next day, I heard about an older lady who had a heart attack and passed at the afternoon tea. My manager called me into her office, I assume to ask if I was okay, etc. Nope, screw that.
She actually said, with all seriousness, “Why did you leave so early yesterday? We could have used your help with the medical emergency. The other manager struggled to cope.” I was SHOCKED. I bluntly said, “Are you serious? How was I to know someone was planning on having a heart attack and passing an hour after my shift ended?!”
She responded, “Well, you could try and make a habit of staying back a little in case we need help…” I noped out of that and walked out. I finished my shift exactly on time that day.
18. Does Not Compute
I was working a 3 pm to 11 pm shift last week. The hotel’s restaurant and bar close early on Sundays in the winter because it’s so quiet. Around 9:30 pm during my shift, this girl and her friend (a big bulky guy) came out of the hotel. He must have been the designated driver because he was stone-cold sober, but she looked like she had been drinking. As they walked for the door, I said, “Have a good night!”
She waved as she walked past the desk. “Heyyy hot guy!” She stopped, then looks at me. “You’re hot!” Me: “Well thank you, that’s very nice of you!” After a long pause, she staggered over to the desk. “So um…do you…have a girlfriend?” Me: “No, I do not!” Girl: “Oh! Well hey, I don’t have a boyfriend!”
Me: “I do!” Cue the most hilarious five or six seconds of the week—she attempted to process the words I just said. You could almost see the “ERROR” message flashing in her brain. Finally, it clicked. Girl: “Oh! Oh, I’m…oops…I hope you and him are happy!” Me: “We are, thanks!” She staggered out of the hotel and her friend laughed. “Pay her no mind, have a good one man!”
Just too dang funny.
19. Double Booked
A large part of my job is answering phones and dealing with people who want to rent out our large function room. In our town, our room is one of the very few places available to hold wedding receptions, birthday parties, etc. The process for renting the room is quite simple. People ring up all the time and ask if the date they want is free.
If it is, we place a hold on the requested date for 14 days. If we don’t hear back from them, it opens up to anyone else that wants it. If they do decide they want it, they have to come in for an appointment with either me or my boss. We go through the booking form and help them fill it in. They then pay their deposit and the function gets written in the diary.
We don’t take deposits without a booking form, and we don’t take booking forms without a deposit. You have to physically come in and hand both over. None of this can be done online since we don’t have a website. Fast forward to this morning, when a bridezilla walked in with her mother. Me: “Hi, can I help?” Bride: “I’m here to pay the deposit for my wedding.”
Me: “Okay. Let me get you a form and we’ll go through it. What date did you book?” Bride: “Tomorrow.” The smile on my face dropped. Me: “We have a birthday party booked in tomorrow.” There was no way she could have her wedding at our venue that day. Me: “Tomorrow isn’t available. We already have a booking.” Mother: “You double booked? You’ll have to cancel the other booking.”
Me: “We haven’t double booked. If you haven’t filled out a form or paid a deposit, then you haven’t booked the room. When did you ask about the date?” Mother: “Last July. I remember because we came in before we went for my birthday lunch.” Me: “We only hold the date for two weeks. Someone must have told you that at the time.”
Bride: “Yeah, but it’s a wedding.” Me: “The same rules apply. If you don’t fill in a form and pay the deposit within two weeks, we open it up to everyone else. Unfortunately, someone else has booked the room.” Bride: “I did it all online.” Me: “You did what online?” Bride: “Paid for the room.” Me: “Then why are you here today trying to pay for it now?”
Bride: “Uh…” Me: “We don’t have a website, so you can’t do anything online.” Mother: “She can’t have the wedding here?” Me: “Nope, sorry.” They left. There was no shouting and no anger at me. Nothing. She just casually shrugged her shoulders and walked away.
I was fully expecting the wedding party to turn up all kitted out. However, my boss saw her throwing a huge tantrum on the road outside of our building.
20. Dog Eat Dog World
Nothing grinds my gears more than when people try to exploit the service dogs loophole. This lady came in and wouldn’t answer the two legal questions we are required to ask them about their service dogs. She kept mouthing off that it was wrong to ask, which was a major red flag. She kept going off about how much trouble I was going to be in. Little did she know the tables would be turned…
Sure lady. So I went ahead and printed out the rules about them. She refused to read them even though I highlighted the parts where it says I am allowed to ask these questions. She kept saying “I have papers, here read them.” Finally, she let it slip that it was a “comfort” thing. I was being respectful the whole time, but also stern.
“But I got let inside a courthouse before. I have a vest and certificate to show. I paid $40 dollars for it!” This was another red flag since training for a service dog is expensive! Yes, ma’am, you got let in because you purposely misidentified your dog as a service dog. She then said she forgot her charger in the car and never came back. People like her ruin it for real service dogs.
21. Come Again?
This was my experience as a guest at a hotel in rural Georgia. I was traveling for work and my husband needed to bring me some paperwork that I forgot halfway across the state. We are both men. Me: “Hi, I am leaving for work now. My husband is bringing me some paperwork, but I will not be here because I’ll be working. He will be here in about four hours. Can you please let him into room 123?”
Front desk: “Huh?” I repeated my statement. Front Desk: “Oh. So your boss is coming with paperwork?” Me: “No, my husband.” Front Desk: “Oh okay, did you mean your co-worker?” Me: “No, it’s my husband. The man I am married to. We are gay.” Front Desk: “Okay, I’ll let your friend in when he gets here, no problem at all. Have a good day.”
I mean, I know it’s rural Georgia, but have they never had a gay hotel guest? Am I crazy? Anyway, the rest of the hotel staff was very lovely. I just found this both confusing and amusing.
22. Make Like A Tree…
This conversation just took place 10 or so minutes ago. An older couple from Florida, maybe in their 7o’s, was checking in. Woman: “Gosh…the trees look absolutely awful without leaves on them.” Me: “You just missed our peak fall season. It was beautiful, but now most of the trees have lost their leaves for the season.” Woman: “It’s horrible. It looks …depressing.”
Me: “Yes, I can imagine that winters in the north can be a bit dismal compared to Florida.” Woman: “I knew it was going to be cold. I expected the cold. I’m not stupid. But the trees? Are all of them going to be like this?” Me: “Most trees in our region are deciduous and lose their leaves for the season, compared to the evergreens.” Woman: “But the ones you have out front are ornamental, right?”
For reference, the trees in the front of our property are flowering crab apple trees. Me: “I guess you could say that; they are absolutely stunning in the spring. Covered with flowers.” Woman: “Well, why just leave them there during the winter when they look so horrible?” At that point, I kind of just gave her a blank look, as I wasn’t quite sure what she was inferring.
Woman: “Can’t you remove them? I really think you should have them removed. They look awful. It’s upsetting.” Yes, she actually said the trees were upsetting. “If they are good for the spring, just plant new ones in the spring, why keep these ones when they are done blooming?” Me: “Oh, well, those are full-grown trees.” She didn’t like when I said that.
Woman: “Is there a manager I could talk to about this?” Me: “I am the only one on-site at the moment. The owner will be present here in the morning when you check out.” Woman: “Okay, they need to be removed. It’s very ugly. Just awful! How is anyone supposed to be comfortable staying here when all they see out their window are things that look like THAT! Are you sure that they actually aren’t dead? I mean….they really look like it to me. I think you should get rid of them. You could probably hire someone to come and do that tomorrow. And maybe when we get back to the hotel I won’t have to look at them.”
Me: “Well…you are welcome to make your suggestions about them to the owner in the morning. I can leave him a note about your concerns in the meantime if you like.” Woman: “Yes! Leave him a note. We will be gone all morning tomorrow. I hope you get some pine trees so it will look festive! For the holidays! It will be so much better! You’ll see!”
And with that, they went off to their room. They will be here for five days. I’m now just imagining the conversation that will take place when she returns tomorrow and finds out that we had not done something completely ludicrous like removing and replacing all of our trees for her…
23. Crossing The Line
This Booking.com guest (BG) called down at 8 am and said, “I requested a late checkout and I wanted to make sure that went through.” It was weird because 1) there was nothing noted on the reservation, 2) we were sold out and not offering late checkouts, and 3) they were paying just $69 for their room. Me: “I’m sorry, but that was not noted here and we are not able to offer late checkout at this time.”
BG: “I requested it online on Booking.com!!!” Me: “I’m sorry but that was a request, not a guarantee. Booking.com also didn’t notify us of that request, so you should contact them if there was a miscommunication.” BG: “I stay here every weekend and always get a late checkout!!!” Me: “I’m sorry, but you’ve only stayed here once before. We were nice enough to offer you a late checkout because we were only 40% occupied. Today, I am 100% sold out. So your checkout time is at noon today.”
BG: “I want to speak to a manager!” Me: “I am the manager, and I am telling you that I cannot offer you—” BG: “That’s just weird because EVERY other time, the manager on duty has given us a late checkout. You can ask her. When does she get in?” Me: “I am the only manager available today. Your check-out time is at noon, sir. If we weren’t so busy, then I would just love to give you a later checkout time. But today we cannot offer late checkouts to anyone.”
BG: “I don’t understand how I was ALWAYS able to get a late checkout at 4 pm, but YOU are telling me that I can’t!” Me: “As I’ve said, it’s based on availability. I cannot offer late checkouts today because I am 100% sold out. And housekeeping staff needs time to ensure all rooms are clean and serviced. THAT is why you cannot have a late checkout.”
BG continued to argue with me, but I was growing tired of her. Being cranky and not wanting to deal with it, I said, “Look. If you are going to make a huge deal about a late checkout, I will go ahead and approve of it just for YOU. 1 pm is the ONLY available time I can give you.”
Well, rather than take the 1 pm time and thank me, the jerk continued to argue. BG: “I’ll take the 1 pm, but if you call your other manager and ask her, she will say she has always given me a 4 pm checkout! I just don’t understand why you can’t give me that. I stayed here every weekend and you were NOT slow. You were booked up top to bottom!”
Me: “Sir, I’ve worked every weekend for the last year. And every weekend since July has NOT been sold out. I can tell you that right now. And I don’t know how your information would differ from mine because you don’t have access to our system to check availability. I am trying to be nice and help you out with a later checkout time that I’m not even supposed to be giving anyone. So at this time, this is my final offer. 1 pm checkout or nothing.”
He then started yelling at me and calling me a liar. So I hung up. Every five minutes afterward, he would call back to harass me about why he deserved a 4 pm checkout instead of 1 pm. I’d repeat myself and say: “1 pm is the latest time I can offer you.” He would then say to his girlfriend, “Can you believe this?” in the background.
The girlfriend would reply, “That’s not what you said the last phone call!!!” By the fifth time he called down, I was done. I was tired, cranky, and heavily pregnant, having Braxton Hicks contractions. So I snapped as soon as they started. BG: “Yeah, I just don’t get it. Why can’t we have a 4 pm checkout?” Me: “Okay, you know what, sir? You are just calling down to harass and disrespect me at this point and I am not okay with this. I’ve gone above and beyond by at least offering you a 1 pm checkout since it is that important to you.”
“But since you don’t want to take that offer and continue to call down every five minutes just to be rude to me, I am taking my offer back. You must now leave the property. You have 30 minutes to gather your things and leave. Failure to leave will result in officers escorting you out of the hotel. We do not want your further business and I will be sure to let Booking.com know that you were being rude and disrespectful by calling me a liar even after trying to help you out.”
“I will urge them to ban you from ever booking a reservation at our hotel again, so please do not come back. Our system will also cancel any reservation you book with us outside of Booking.com. Thank you and have a great day.” Click. I didn’t hear back from them, but I did see an angry dude grumbling something to himself while getting a luggage cart. I called the room 45 minutes later and there was no answer.
24. Wrong Place, Right Time
Night auditor. This big ol’ facepalm happened a couple of nights ago. A dude came down around 2 am, on his phone, pacing back and forth. I poked my head out of the office and asked him if I could help with anything. He said, “Naw, I’m just trying to find my girlfriend. We left the casino and agreed to meet back at the hotel, and she said she’d be in the lobby, but … “
Both of us looked at the empty lobby. I said what I knew he was thinking out loud: “…Clearly, she’s not.” “Right,” He replied. I told him that I’d be around if he needed anything specific. The conversation continued, and eventually, I got to hear his side: “Babe?…No, Babe, I’m in the lobby, you’re not. Babe?…Babe. No, babe, I’m in the lobby…Okay, honey, I am literally standing where you paid the bill for our hotel room. Ya. I’m standing here, with the night clerk…Yup, I am staring at our car. So, where are you?…No? We can’t BOTH be in the lobby.”
At that point, I suggested to him that perhaps she was in our south building. He walked down then came back, still on the phone. “No, I don’t know where you are either…Nope…Ya know what? Just stay where you are, wherever you are. I’m going to find you…No, I’m not driving. Yes, I know, I know…Because I’m going to find you and get you back here before you wind up in China or something.”
The dude took off on foot and I guess he just started visiting hotels. He returned 45 minutes later. On the vestibule phone, he said he found her at The Sandman, a property about 10 minutes south of us. He led her, a very pretty blonde lady, towards the elevator. As they walked, he asked her, “So, does this look a bit more familiar?” “Yeah…” she replied, dreamily. “Ya know, I wondered why my room key wouldn’t work…”
…I’ll bet you did, lady. I’ll bet you did.
25. Lovely In All Languages
Today, I wanted to share a story about a guest of mine who was so sweet it made me cry. This booking came in a few weeks ago with a note attached to it, saying that the guest will be traveling with their deaf father. It was included just so that we would be aware when dealing with them when they arrived as they would be staying for a number of days. His daughter wanted to make his trip to Ireland as smooth as possible.
Upon seeing this note and noting that I would be the one to check them in, I decided to learn some very basic sign language. I greeted the guest in my usual fashion, asking for the surname on the booking. Once I heard the name, I realized immediately who was standing in front of me. I knew what I had to do.
I had been learning how to say “Welcome to Ireland” for the past two weeks. My sign language was terrible, but I told them if they needed anything during their stay to just let me know. I smiled at the father and daughter in front of me. Then, I turned to the father and I greeted him in ASL, doing the bit I had learned for him.
His daughter broke down crying and called me sweet. The father also smiled and was so happy. Honestly, seeing his reaction was enough for me. It was so worth the last few weeks of learning basic ASL. On check-out, I sadly wasn’t working, but they had left a gift for me. A small box with some chocolates and a book on ASL.
Inside was a note, and its contents broke my heart. The inscription read, “Thank you so much for what you did on check-in. My father has been in amazing form since you checked us in and insisted we get you a gift before we left. You have no idea how much this meant to my father and me and we can’t thank you enough. You’ve made his trip home to his family after 50 years very special with one simple gesture.”
They wrote a letter to the general manager also asking to give me a raise, which I really appreciated. And they gave us an amazing review on Trip Advisor. I cried like a little baby for a solid five minutes when I came into work today to find this gift in my locker.
26. Once In A Blue Moon
Two days ago, I checked in a unicorn. It was magical. The unicorn came up to the desk, with his ID and credit card in hand. He just gave them to me. He was super top-tier—he booked with a fancy credit card and all. But there was an issue with his reservation. When he called his brand rep, the agent messed up his rate code.
It could have been a big problem but I just redid the training. “Not to worry! Take your time,” said the unicorn. Oh my God, y’all. He didn’t yell at me. My lead and I couldn’t fix his rate code, so we jerry-rigged all his benefits onto his reservation. He was as happy as a clam. He thanked us profusely and asked where he should go for dinner. I suggested a fun tapas restaurant just across the way. He was delighted.
He called down from his room saying that he loved his view. He loved how quiet his suite was. He was excited about dinner. At breakfast, he said the restaurant was amazing and he called me an angel. I may have floated. Then, the unicorn checked out and waved goodbye. A charge hadn’t come through from lunch yet, but he reacted in such an unexpected way—told me not to stress and to just email him. WHOA. And then he left, just as happy as he came in.
What a lovely juxtaposition from the rest of the grumpy house of Karens. A real, live sparkly unicorn.
27. Concerned Citizen
A few weeks back, when we were completely booked, a guest complained about the smell of substances coming from a room. I asked them which room they thought it was coming from, and I made my way there. I went up to the unit and knocked on the door. There was a group of like eight or nine people, and they were definitely having a party. I told them someone reported the smell and I asked if they had anything.
The room didn’t smell strongly of it, but it definitely seemed like they had some. They assured me they didn’t, and I left it at that. I wasn’t allowed to search the room and they were keeping quiet, so I just apologized and left. About 10 minutes later, the same guest called down to complain again, except this time he said, “I know you probably can’t call the authorities, but I can if you want.”
“No, sir, I do not need you to call the authorities on that guest. I will check on them again.” “I can do it, just let me know.” Honestly, this time I just did a walk-by of the room; I still couldn’t smell anything, and in my hotel, you can usually smell everything. I went back down and relaxed for a few minutes when a guest walked into the lobby. “Do you need anything, sir?”
“No, I’m just waiting on someone.” I recognized his voice as the guest who’d been calling down. About 20 minutes went by and one of my city’s finest, whom I know because he had been at the hotel for other problems before, walked in and said he got a call. “I didn’t—” “That was me!” said this jerk.
“I think there’s someone puffing up next to me and this fellow isn’t doing anything about it.” The officers went up, spoke to the guests who I’d already spoken to, then came back down. I asked them if they found anything, but of course, they didn’t. I apologized for wasting their time. One of the things we have guests sign is a paper saying that if they cause a disturbance to other guests, we reserve the right to ask them to leave.
This includes loud noises, verbal or physical harassment, and basically, anything we feel violates the safety or well-being of another guest. So I asked the officers to stick around for a minute—and I got my revenge. I called the guest who had called them and informed him he had violated our disturbance policy and needed to leave.
Of course, he fought back and started yelling at me over the phone. I asked the officers to accompany me up to the room, and together we walked the guy out of my hotel. He should’ve just listened to me in the first place. By the way, the guests who had been bothered were very understanding. Management compensated them on the next day that they were in. They didn’t have a problem with us at all.
28. Sugar Pie Hunny Bun
It was a little after midnight. I was in the back finishing up my audit when I heard someone walking up to the desk. Before I could get up, this 50-year-old man slapped on the desk and shouted, “Hey honey! Are you back there, darling?” I assumed he was looking for my co-worker from the 3 pm to 11 pm shift, who was a pretty, small blonde girl.
For what it’s worth, I’m a grizzly-looking man. As I got up, he called again: “Sweetheart?” As I rounded the corner, I replied, “Right here, sugar.” I’d never seen a grown man curdle like milk in 1.5 seconds. He then quickly and quietly bought a few things from the market, and then I told him, “Have a good night, pumpkin” as he made his way to the elevators. I then returned to work, but not before I took a quick break to laugh.
29. Booked And Busy
I work for one of the most recognizable hotel brands in the world and we have a few of them in town. This happened over a year ago. My former colleague was trying to find a reservation that was not traceable. No matter which name the guest gave us, nothing would show. I was working with her on this particularly busy, sold-out Friday night.
My colleague (we’ll call her Jane) dealt with this lady, but I was sorting out other things on our system to ensure that we didn’t mess anything up after checking in a lineup of guests. This is how I remember it: Jane: “Is your reservation possibly at the other hotel?” Lady: “No. It’s here. I booked here.”
Jane: “Okay…after opening my search parameters, I can’t seem to find anything. Let me just give them a call to verify. “Lady: “Absolutely not. I booked here so you’re going to find my reservation.” Jane: “Okay, I forgot to ask, do you have a confirmation number?” Lady: “No, but I booked here.” Jane: “Did you get a confirmation email sent to you?”
Lady: “I might have. But it doesn’t matter because I booked here.” Jane: “Okay, well, I’m going to call the other hotel.” Lady: “No! I know I booked here. I have my family with me and we specifically booked this hotel.” Jane: “As I said before, I can’t find it. And we’re sold out, so I will not be able to accommodate you until I figure out that your reservation is being held here.”
Lady: “Well, it must be your system. You’re going to make it work even if my reservation didn’t show up.” As this lady kept freaking out at Jane, repeatedly saying that she booked here over and over, I took it upon myself to call the other hotel while she was not paying attention. The lady noticed me and I was already on the phone with them before it was too late.
I just remember how wide her eyes got as the conversation I was having with the other hotel was transpiring. I’m sure you can guess what they told me. Me: “Lady, I just verified with the other hotel, and your reservation is, in fact, at the other hotel.” The lady didn’t say a single word and walked out the door. Pride is a tough thing to swallow.
30. Unplugged, Unreasonable
Our hotel is at the end of the road in a national park. There’s no Wi-Fi, no cell service…not even any AM radio. Our lone amenity is our location. We advertise the fact we have no amenities on our website. It’s a “Enjoy an unplugged experience free from modern distractions!” type of place. One time, this guest came up, furious about the lack of Wi-Fi.
On top of that, they were expecting DVDs to borrow from the front desk, but there wasn’t even a TV in his room. He said, “How are they supposed to entertain themselves and their children?” Blah blah blah. I helpfully pointed out that our gift shop had playing cards and board games. Their response was shocking. I am quoting verbatim: “You expect me to spend time with my children?”
I’ve never seen somebody voice so much horror and disgust into such a compact sentence.
31. A Taste Of Her Own Medicine
I finally did it. I stood up for myself. I had an angry Karen harassing me and I straight up told her she’d be denied service. She told me I couldn’t do that, and I told her we had the right to deny service and that I was exercising that right. She pulled out her phone, hoping the threat of her showing it to my boss would get me to submit.
I told her on camera that she couldn’t harass the staff. She went off about how she couldn’t wait to show this to management. I told her to have a great night. Of course, she put the phone down so she wouldn’t record the things she’d say afterward. I told her to have a great night even after that. Then, the unexpected happened.
She just gave up and left. I didn’t get in trouble. I hope denying service to these Karens becomes a norm. They’re only this bad because we allow them to be. They’ve likely done it before and still got rewarded with apologies, rewards points, and free breakfasts. Service denial is a RIGHT and we should use it. Treat employees better.
32. It’s Too Early For This
I’m a night auditor and a front desk associate at a hotel next to a mid-sized airport. I deal with lots of dumb stuff, but this one took the cake. At around 4 am, a mom and her kid were in the lobby waiting for their 4:30 am taxi. Since I’m a night auditor, most of my job involves me just being there to take care of guest requests, so I bring my gaming laptop with me every night.
Most of the time, I just play some low-key music or documentaries, but after 2 am, I do some gaming. When the mom showed up with the kid to check out, the kid noticed my laptop. He asked about it, and I told him the make and model. The kid was obviously a little envious, but otherwise really cool. They sat in the lobby when suddenly, the kid was also interested in our lobby computer.
After getting bored of it, he whispered something to the mom and she whispered something back. Suddenly, the kid ducked behind the counter and started trying to play on my laptop. I politely asked the kid to stop touching my laptop and to get back to his mom. Surprisingly, the kid obeyed but the mother freaked the heck out.
“I’m sitting here waiting for a taxi and you can’t let my child entertain himself on your laptop? I told him he can play on it until we leave.” “No, I can’t let him do that since guests aren’t allowed behind the desk and this is my own personal property.” “He’s just a child, let him have some fun while we wait for the taxi!” “I can’t allow non-employees behind the desk, since other guests’ personal information can be viewed. This is company policy for all involved, and I’m sorry the taxi is taking so long to get here.”
“Well, I told him he can play on it to keep busy because he needs something to do. What is he supposed to do now?” “Ma’am, I understand your child might be bored, but that’s not our responsibility. You’re welcome to change the channel on the television to find something suitable for him if you’d like.” “Why aren’t there any games on the computer in the lobby?”
The computer in the lobby is our “business center” and is stock standard, meaning it just has Windows 10 without anything extra installed. “That’s a business computer and it’s meant to be used by our customers for business purposes.” “Then you should install some games on it! If your hotel is going to host children, then it should entertain them as well!”
Thankfully, the taxi arrived as she finished her sentence, so she gathered her child and baggage before storming out. But the nightmare continued. Suddenly, the taxi driver was walking in with a receipt book, telling me we promised to pay for her taxi. This was false and completely against our policy. He easily accepted this, but the mom did not.
“YOUR WEBSITE SAYS YOU HAVE A HOTEL SHUTTLE AND IF IT’S NOT RUNNING, THEN I EXPECT YOU TO PAY FOR OUR TAXI!” “I’m sorry, but our shuttle only runs from 7 am to 9 pm. Outside of those hours, you are responsible for your own transportation.” “YOUR WEBSITE SAYS THERE’S A SHUTTLE TO THE AIRPORT! WE TOOK IT YESTERDAY AFTERNOON!”
“Yes, when our airport shuttle is operating. We list our shuttle hours on our website, I’m sorry for the confusion.” The mother then started swearing at me, calling me names, and threatening to call my manager for about three minutes before realizing I wouldn’t budge. That’s when she gave up and stormed back out to the taxi. Finally.
33. VIP Customer
So first of all, I work for a budget hotel chain that overuses the color purple a lot. I was working the front desk and at about 11 pm, a middle-aged lady came in. Now, she didn’t have a reservation and we have a general rule that if any night staff accept a reservation after the night shift starts, they would have to take responsibility for that customer should they cause any problems.
She seemed nice enough and we had a lot of empty rooms that night, so I thought sure, let’s give her a room. Her total came to about $75 and she got out her card to pay. I watched her put it into the machine, as a few of our guests sometimes miss the little slot or try to swipe. She saw me looking and said to me, “Oh, yes, this my Halifax Ultimate Reward card. It looks smart doesn’t it?”
Making idle conversation, I replied, “Yeah, I’ve got one of those as well.” To my surprise, the woman said, “Oh you must be mistaken—this is an exclusive card for valued customers of Halifax. They don’t give them to people like you.” This threw me for a loop. Feeling defensive—and admittedly, I may have been in the wrong here—I pulled my identical card out of my pocket to show her.
This woman flipped her lid. “YOU CAN’T HAVE THAT, THAT’S NOT YOURS. YOU’VE TAKEN THAT FROM A GUEST. FETCH YOUR MANAGER RIGHT NOW.” I was utterly bemused by this turn of events, so I went into the back office to get the night manager, who couldn’t quite grasp the weird situation I’d gotten myself into. He came out front and she went off at him.
Now, our night manager has been there for years, so he was used to this stuff. He just stood there while she ranted and raved until she was out of steam. Then he said, “I’m very sorry, but due to the attitude you have displayed towards my team, your reservation is canceled and you are no longer welcome in this hotel. Also, I feel like I should inform you that Halifax will give one of those cards to anyone who will pay $15 per month. You are not special. Please mind the revolving door on your way out.”
She gaped at us for a while and then left while muttering about complaining to head office. So yeah, definitely one of my weirder check-ins.
34. Bad Mood Betsy
I was working the MORNING front desk shift and it was a cakewalk. As per usual, I had lots of calls but no weirdness. Then this witch walked in. Her: “I just made a reservation in the parking lot.” Me: “Alright, excellent! Welcome. How were your travels?” Her: “That’s none of your business.”Already, we were off to a bad start. Not only was she an hour early for check-in, but she was pulling out that attitude for no reason.
Thankfully, my housekeeping staff is stellar. I had a room ready. Cool, no sweat. Me: “Sorry about that. I’ll just take an ID—” She then proceeded to slam the ID on the counter. Great. But when I checked the system, her reservation hadn’t popped up in the system yet. Sometimes it takes a few minutes, but never too long. I grabbed her a bottle of water and a little snack, then let her know it shouldn’t take more than a moment.
When it hadn’t shown up after 3-4 minutes, I double-checked the system, thinking she may have checked in online. Then, I got a hunch and checked the arrivals for the next day. Bingo. Me: “I’ve found it! Unfortunately, the reservation is for tomorrow and I see that you booked through Smotels.com, so I am unable to alter your reservation. I’m happy to—”
What I was going to do was give her options. It was a one-night stay, so my initial thought was that a call to Smotels.com in order to change it so she wouldn’t be charged up the wazoo in fees for the transfer. Please keep in mind that it’s her mistake that she would like my help to fix. At that point, she was doubling down.
Her: “Fix it.” Me: “I’m so sorry, I am unable to alter reservations of this nature but I’m going to help—” Her: “You can help me but you won’t. You have my reservation right there, why are we even talking about this?” We went back and forth for a few seconds. She had no idea what she was talking about, and the more she realized that fact, the more she doubled down.
She finally realized that if I just made a new reservation for her for one night, she would be charged for the second night regardless. Her: “I want the second night. Make it happen.” So I made the reservation, instructed her to come down for fresh keys the next day under her Smotels.com reservation, and proceeded to write up an alert warning my fellow front desk warriors about the dragon lady in 302.
35. That’s DOCTOR Idiot To You
I work at a very large, very old beachfront resort. It is technically a motel, but for some reason, the word “motel” just bothers me. Anyway, our varying nightly rate attached to the 16 different room types is by far the lowest in our destination area. With that in mind, you can imagine the unsavory locals we often attract.
My front desk staff is accustomed to handling all types of crazy and each of them deserves a humanitarian award just for making it beyond week one of training. This is my favorite and most recent mind-blower. A female guest arrived in all her green-haired glory with a simple shoulder bag and a third-party booking for a one-night stay.
I’ll call her GH. She had a little trouble at check-in when supplying payment for the night, particularly the required $100 incidental hold. If I remember correctly, GH gave a sob story to one of our newbies who eventually caved and accepted the incidental hold in cash…A no-no in our books, but I couldn’t seem to get the newbies to grasp the purpose of a required credit or debit card payment versus cash.
A story for another day…Anyway, GH extended her stay one night at a time. She came to the front desk prior to the 11 am check out, forked over a handful of crumpled bills, and had her keys updated. Somewhere along the lines, she updated for two nights and convinced another newbie that a manager said it was “totally fine” for her to use her cash incidental hold towards an additional night’s lodging.
Ummm, no. One morning, when reviewing some high balance folios, one of us figured out the mistake and called the guest to correct the error. She wasn’t happy, but GH made her way to the lobby accompanied by a middle-aged man who absolutely did not belong in the company of GH under normal circumstances. But who was I to judge?
We’ll call this unassuming fool MAM; that is, Middle-Aged Male. GH had convinced MAM that she was desperate. The only reason she was at our motel-hotel resort is that her horrible boyfriend had kicked her out! Without the assistance of MAM, she would be on the street, with no roof over her head.
We couldn’t have that now, could we? MAM gladly put down his card to cover the nightly resort fee and the incidental hold. He inserted his card into the chip reader and proudly signed the documents as if he was a knight in shining armor! His comb-over and ’80s style wooly worm attached to his upper lip did not stop him from puffing up his chest and escorting GH out of the lobby on his arm.
Whatever. At least I had his digits and signature. That was my only concern at that point. Fast forward approximately seven days—I was approached by a flustered employee who begged me to come to the front desk and deal with an irate guest who was disputing several hundreds of dollars in outlet charges. I first asked my list of questions: Do you have a signed card? Did you research the disputed charges and find signed copies for each?
Does everything look on the up and up? He answered yes to all of the above, so I headed out to the front desk. I am met with MAM pacing back and forth. “Good afternoon, Sir! How are you today?” MAM: “Not very good. Not very good at all!” Me: “I am sorry to hear that. How can I help make this a better day for you?” MAM: “Well, you can start by explaining to me exactly when you will be refunding me the hundreds of dollars charged to my credit card.”
Me: “Oh. Well, I see here that a person staying in the room for which you placed your card as collateral has enjoyed several pounds of shrimp at our oceanfront restaurant. Was there a problem with the food or service, sir?” MAM: “Stop with this ‘sir’ stuff! It’s DOCTOR! CALL ME DOCTOR!” First of all, how the heck was I supposed to know that?
Second of all, people who usually got THIS upset are almost always academics, never medical doctors. I just put on my witch face. Me: “Sir—excuse me—Doctor, you placed your card on file for all incidental charges and signed the applicable forms, giving permission to the hotel to collect all charges outside of room and tax TO YOUR CARD.”
MAM: “But you didn’t tell me that meanT unlimited room service! I didn’t even eat shrimp! I wasn’t even there!” Me: “You did not give any instructions to restrict the charges to the resort fee only—” ‘I was then interrupted by MAM throwing his hands up in the air, huffing, puffing, and pacing back and forth. Doctor, do you know GH?
MAM: “YES! I mean, I’m not sleeping with her or anything. I’m just helping her out. You guys were going to kick her out on the streets! What was she supposed to do when you locked her out? She needed a place to stay! These are tough times for her!” Me: “Sir, this is a place of business. I am sorry for her situation, but we are required to collect payment in full and an incidental hold for each guest’s stay. You willingly put your card on file and signed for the charges.”
MAM: “Well, who was she with? Was he a younger guy? Were they having fun? Did she look afraid? This is ridiculous and I am not paying for these charges. Where is your manager? Where is the person in accounting that can refund my money?” Me: “Sir…” MAM: “DOCTOR! CALL ME DOCTOR! Me: “Excuse me, ‘doctor,’ I AM that manager and I AM ‘that person from accounting’ and I will not be refunding these charges.”
MAM: “I’m going to call my lawyer!” Me: “Please do. Here is my card. Have them call me directly and I will provide them with the appropriate paperwork, all of which contain your signature and your approval for these charges.” MAM: “Well, can I at least get a key? She won’t even let me in the room!” Do you see what is happening here, friends?
It was kind of sad at that point. MAM had been duped by GH and needed someone to blame. Not only did she eat pounds and pounds of shrimp with her real-life boyfriend, but she also tipped the bill! TWICE! I spoke to the staff over at Food and Beverage, asking them to make me aware of all instances where a guest tipped the bill in excess of $50.
Regardless, this lady was a baller. But back to the conversation at hand. Me: “Your name is not on the reservation or the room. I cannot give you a key. I am sorry.” MAM: “I am going to leave terrible reviews on every website I can find! Terrible reviews.” Me: “That is perfectly fine. You do that. I will have every single review removed as you are not a registered guest here.”
MAM stormed out of the hotel lobby. I shouted after him, “Have an excellent day!” then instructed the peanut gallery cackling in the back to note the folio. Under no circumstances was anyone to refund the guy a dime. I asked security to inform GH that it was time for her to go. This pleasant exchange with MAM combined with the fact that she had been kicked out of the hot tub late at night on two separate occasions with two different gentlemen convinced me of what was going on here.
GH didn’t put up a fight. She was rather pleasant, actually. We might not be a high-class hotel, but it is not an hourly-rate place either, so I stuck to my convictions and asked her to pack up her belongings. She politely accepted the marching orders. Weird. Ten minutes after, MAM required my presence at the front desk. I took a deep breath and walked back up to the front. I already knew what was coming…
Me: “Yes, Doctor?” MAM: “I want to take care of this calmly and professionally. I do not want GH out on the street. I’ve already paid for the room for two more nights. Can’t she stay? She is just my friend and is down on her luck. Very sweet girl…I am not sleeping with her or anything. Just helping her out.” Me: “Um, no. You have made it very clear you will not pay and I cannot knowingly add charges to your card after this conversation.”
MAM: “But I paid for it! Can’t she just stay? Can’t we just put the room on here, not unlimited room service?” I used that moment as my opportunity to get further acceptance of payment responsibility to all prior charges. I had him sign a credit card authorization form plus a written agreement to all charges previously posted to the room. I made him sign every single room charge receipt.
I let her stay. If he was that much of an IDIOT to buy her lies, it wasn’t my problem. As I finished the mountain of paperwork I required of him, he proceeded to tell me he was a published quantum physicist. He rattled off a list of varying degrees and then told me he would be running for President in 2020. Sure, buddy.
By the way, GH and MAM were caught later that night in the hot tub and asked to leave the property for repeated violations. Their room was a dump when they left and we hit MAMs card for another $250 in cleaning charges. I am proud to say that I definitely obtained his signature of responsibility for this charge while he ranted on about his quantum theory of collective consciousness. What a douche.
36. Sorry, Wrong Number
So a few minutes ago, our janitor came to the front desk and said, “Um…there’s someone calling on the elevator?” I was like, “What do you mean? There’s someone stuck in the elevator?” Which, you know, wouldn’t have been the first time, but still. He replied, “I don’t know, but they’re talking on the speaker.” So I went to the elevator and stepped inside.
Sure enough, there was a lady’s voice on the speaker going, “Hello? Can you hear me?” I said, “Yes, I can hear you. Are you okay?” I started thinking that maybe she was stuck in the other elevator and had somehow managed to call the one beside it. Then, I found out the odd truth. She said, “Yeah, is this Windsor Arms?” I’d like to speak to someone about making a reservation.”
Okay… WHAT? “Ma’am, you’ve reached the elevator.” “I what?” “You’ve called the elevator on our property. May I ask what number you called?” She then listed off a number that was in no way similar to our front desk number and wasn’t one I’d ever heard before. Turned out, she called 411 for Information and the number THEY have on file goes directly to our freaking ELEVATOR for some reason. What the heck.
37. All In The Family
My wife unexpectedly delivered our third daughter in a standard two-queen hotel room last Monday night, and we made the front page of the local paper. For some background, my wife was 38 weeks pregnant with our third kid. The first two were both delivered by C-sections, and our local hospital doesn’t entertain VBACs (canal birth after cesarean), so for the whole pregnancy, we planned on traveling to a city just shy of 100 miles away that’s more VBAC-friendly.
We also planned to have the baby at a birth center with a midwife, using the hospital as a backup. 11 days before the due date, my wife had her weekly Monday appointment with her midwife. The midwife checked her and said my wife wasn’t in active labor, but we could expect the baby to come within the next day, or day and a half.” She recommended that we gather our stuff and head to the other city at a more relaxed pace than do so in a panicked rush.
We brought our four- and five-year-olds with us, expecting to call grandma a bit closer to go-time to come over and watch them. We made the drive and got to town around 5 pm, grabbed coffee, went out for a leisurely dinner, and checked in with the midwife, who then told us to check into a hotel and get some rest. Still no active labor at that point, but she said, “I don’t think we’ll send you home tomorrow with an empty car seat.”
I picked a hotel less than five minutes from the birth center and we checked in around 8 pm. We brought waterproof pads inside in case her water broke or something, and we had things ready in case we needed to get out in a hurry. I got the ladies—our kids and my wife—down to bed at 8:30 pm and I texted my parents to expect a new grandbaby sometime the next day.
20 minutes later, my wife’s water broke. I called the midwife to got her headed to the birth center. I threw our stuff and the kids into the van, dodging other guests who were slowly meandering their way down the hall or pushing their luggage cart in through a side door that wasn’t meant for those carts. I finally got back to the room to help my wife.
She said she couldn’t move because the baby was coming at that very instant. I called the midwife and redirected her to the hotel that we were staying at while frantically getting more pads down on the floor. I rearranged the furniture to create as much space as I could, and….freeze. I just remembered the kids were left alone in the van. My wife was trying to push our next kid out, and I had no clue what to do.
Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long for the midwife to show up and she was even able to get her birth assistant to the hotel as well. We set up near the window as there was a bit of space there, but the darn heater kept kicking on and blowing air right at my wife. In between pushes, I brought the kids in and grabbed them snacks to keep them from melting down while we have this baby.
Thank God the midwife knew what she was doing—after some time, we brought our little girl into the world. It was at 10 pm, just an hour after everything started. The assistant visited the front desk to get more towels but still hadn’t let them know that we just had a baby in there (I’m guessing to prevent the front desk from calling an ambulance and bringing in even more chaos).
Grandma showed up around 11 pm and I headed to the lobby to meet her. I looked at the front desk lady and she asked me how it was going. “Exciting,” I said. “I don’t know how many times you’ve heard these words, but my wife just delivered a baby in your hotel.” The front desk lady said, “Wait, really? Wow! Do you need me to call an ambulance or something?”
“No, everything is fine, this all happened about an hour ago.” “Really? We didn’t even get a noise complaint!” The adrenaline eventually subsided and we all went to bed. I finally got up at around 8:30 am to grab breakfast and I heard people talking all about our experience at the other tables. Eventually, I got the kids up and brought them to the front desk to share our story.
They were far from upset. In fact, they actually had gifts waiting, including a blanket and jammies for the wee lass. The manager asked if she could take a picture and share it on the location’s Facebook page. We ended up checking out that day and traveling home. I submitted a news tip to the paper, thinking it might be a fun story somewhere deep in Section C or whatever.
Not only did they call me back, but they also sent a photographer to our house and ended up running the story on the top of the front page! All in all, it was a pretty cool way to welcome a new member of the family.
38. That’s Just Good Parenting
I was working the front desk when a mom brought over her crying 12-year-old. “Tell her what you did,” she sternly told her daughter. In between sobs, the daughter told me that she jumped up in the hallway, slapped the exit sign, and it fell down. Her mom went on to tell me that her daughter would pay to replace it. She wanted her to learn from her actions and take responsibility for them.
Now, I know it’s in our hotel’s nature to say it’s okay or no problem, but I knew this was important to her mom. I thanked the little girl for her honesty, then asked her why she chose to do what she did. She said she thought it would be fun and never thought it would fall off. I asked her if she would ever do it again? “No, never, I’m so sorry,” she said.
We then went to check out the sign. If there was a fire, then guests would not be able to see where the exit was and it could be very dangerous. The three of us went to the hallway and upon inspecting the sign, it wasn’t broken at all. I was able to put it back up and it worked perfectly. I told the girl that there was no damage, so she didn’t have to pay to replace it.
I also told her that I was proud of her for taking responsibility for what she did. Her mom told her she was proud of her too. Just a reminder to us all that if a parent has a child apologize for something they’ve, don’t just say, “No problem.” Be kind, but encourage them not to do it again. Also, thank them for their apology.
39. The Good Samaritan
30 minutes ago, I had someone with a reservation walk in without a mask. When I told him he needed to put one on, he joked that he had to get it out of his bag. He tried talking to me while he was unzipping his luggage, but I just waited for him to actually have it on. I don’t really have patience for that kind of stuff anymore.
So I was so delighted, but also saddened, when I received a call 10 minutes ago from someone who was in our parking lot. She revealed a scary truth to me over the phone—she had learned someone she spent time with during the holidays had tested positive. At first, I was worried she was still going to check in, but she just asked if there was any way she could cancel because she was about to make the drive all the way back home.
I made sure she knew how much I appreciated that she respected the hotel’s policies enough to call us and let us know, and I was glad to hear the person who did test positive was asymptomatic. I wished her well, and she drove away. That seems like the obvious thing to do for a lot of people, but as we know, working in a customer-facing position, you can’t expect people to make rational decisions like that on a daily basis.
40. A Game Of Patients
Okay, this isn’t about a hotel front desk—it’s about a doctor’s office—but they still deal with the public (except their customers are often sick and in a very bad mood). Several years ago, I was the COO of a mid-sized acute care hospital in a prosperous suburb of a major metropolitan area in the Deep South of the USA. I am now retired.
One of the things you have to do when you’re in the hospital management biz is schmooze with the doctors. So, for 30 to 60 minutes a day, I would hang around their private dining room or the other common places where they would go when they needed a break. I’d simply listen to what they had to say. Doctors like to talk about themselves, so my opinion was rarely requested (and even more rarely provided).
Some were good doctors, some were bad. But one that stood out was a board-certified internist whom I’ll call “Dr. G.” Dr. G was 60+ years old, fiercely independent, and one of the few “solo” doctors who admitted patients to our hospital. Most of our doctors were in large multi-specialty group practices. Not him. He was by himself.
Dr. G had more business than he could handle. Not only did he have a huge patient base because he’d been practicing for decades, but he was also a darn good doctor, so many of the hospital’s other doctors referred a constant stream of patients to him. Dr. G didn’t need money. His wife was an anesthesiologist. They already had a huge house, an equally huge vacation house, several cars, and no debt.
Their children were grown. He never told me how much retirement money they had, but he hinted that it was a load of stocks and mutual funds. He was working because he wanted to, not because he had to. His office was only open four days a week, Monday through Thursday. He had hired twice the number of nurses, bookkeepers, secretaries, etc., that he needed to run it.
So nobody was overworked or overstressed. One day, during the Christmas season, the doctors were sitting around their private dining room talking about what they were giving their office staffers for Christmas. The gifts ranged from tacky (new office uniforms) to useless (pre-paid “detail” at a local car wash for the cars of nurses and secretaries who were paid so poorly that they all drove rust buckets).
Everyone had to admit, however, that Dr. G’s Christmas gift was the best. Even though he gave each employee a gift certificate that was in the low four figures, that was not his “best gift,” not by a long shot. It was Dr. G’s other gift that got everyone’s attention. Every Christmas, each one of his office employees got to “fire” one patient, no questions asked.
It did not matter who the patient was, or what they had done to the employee, they were out. The employee didn’t even have to say why; although they usually enjoyed making sure that the rest of the staff, including Dr. G, all knew why. There were some limitations and exceptions. For example, if the patient was in the middle of a crisis where continuity of care was essential, such as during or shortly after hospitalization, Dr. G promised the employee a “rain check.”
The patient would be “fired” as soon as it could be done without compromising their medical treatment. Also, a patient could never be “fired” if they were terminally ill. I think there might have been a few other exceptions, such as patients with severe dementia. I just can’t recall them all. The staff understood that they could not “fire” patients who were so sick that they couldn’t keep themselves from behaving the way they did.
They could only “fire” patients who were capable of acting like decent human beings, but chose to be jerks. This was never a problem because there were always plenty of those. When a patient was “fired,” Dr. G would send a polite, personal letter to the patient, informing them that he was limiting his practice and they were no longer within the scope of the patients that he would treat.
This was actually true, although his letters didn’t say so, because medical science has no cure for being a jerk. His office would be glad to forward a copy of the patient’s medical records to any other doctor’s office, free of charge. He did not suggest any other doctor, because, after all, these were “bad” patients. If the patient had a small balance on their bill, Dr. G’s letter would tell the patient that he was writing it off.
His staff would also flag the patient in their office systems and records so that current and future office staff would know to never let that patient come back. Ever. That’s it. He had eight to 10 employees, and he could easily afford to do without eight to 10 patients out of the thousands that he treated every year. So, all year long, every time a patient was rude to one of his office staff, the staff person could think, “In a few months, I’ll never have to put up with you ever again.”
Dr. G said that it was the best morale booster he had ever used with his staff, got rid of patients that he himself did not want to treat, and cost him practically nothing.
41. Showing His True Colors
At the time, most of the guests at our hotel were businessmen. The guys from this particular company had been staying at our hotel for a while, and I got along very well with a few of them, including the person I later found out was the owner. One evening, probably around 5 or 6 after my managers had left, three guys from that company came down and wanted to buy drinks and snacks.
I sold the first two guys their drinks and snacks no problem. The third guy, however—I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it made me mad, and I could tell he was already tipsy, so I refused to sell to him. Well, he did not like this, and he called me all sorts of names and just started yelling at me. I told him to go back to his room, but he wasn’t leaving.
Luckily, his two co-workers were still around and they took him out of the lobby. He went back to his room and it was over, or so I thought. I was so, so wrong. I got a call from his manager, who I knew, asking what had happened. I guess one of his co-workers called and told him what had happened. I explained the situation and told him that he was not allowed in the lobby if he was going to be disrespectful.
His manager apologized and said he would get him on a new assignment. He also told me if anything to call him if anything else happened. Alright, that sounded good to me. About 30 minutes later, the dude came back down yelling at me about how his manager called him and was making him leave. He then pulled out his phone and started to record me, on Facebook Live, saying how I wouldn’t sell to him.
He then went into the shop, and on video, took drinks from the cooler. He told me he was going to get me fired and just started screaming at me again. Unfortunately, his co-workers weren’t in the lobby, so all I could do was tell him to go back to his room. He eventually did. I looked up the guest’s reservation and called the number on file for the manager I had talked to earlier to tell him what happened.
I ended up getting sent to the voice mail for who I thought was his other manager. I knew him as well. I left a message, explaining what happened and he called me back almost immediately. He apologized. Since it was late, he couldn’t get him a flight that night to leave; but he had a flight first thing in the morning. I then found out that this manager was actually the owner of the company.
A few days went by and I got another phone call—this time, it was from the HR team. I explained the situation and they apologized. I then got a call from their risk management team, and they apologized. The next time I was at work, all of the managers, the owner, and the employees came and apologized. The guy got fired, and every person in the company had to take a harassment class.
42. I’m All Ears
I’m a valet. I was on the drive greeting cars as I usually did on any shift. A group of ladies and kids came in with an SUV and insisted on parking in the valet lot. After I didn’t let them park there, they started talking about me amongst themselves in Arabic. Little did they know that I spoke fluent Arabic, so when she roasted me, I understood everything.
She then asked in English, “So, where can I park sir?” So I gave her instructions to the parking garage in Arabic. The whole car went silent, the mothers dropped their phones, and she whispered sorry and drove off. Their reactions were priceless.
43. Privileged Information
I work at a small hotel in a major city. This happened on a Friday night, right before my shift was about to end. I had all my check-ins done and I was ready to get out…but then the phone rang. Me: “Hi, how can I help you?” Phone: “Ugh, hi, yeah—can you tell me if you have a guest checking in under the name of Mr. So and So?”
Phone: “So you’re actually telling me that when you got hired you were told that you’re not allowed to tell someone that?” Me: “Um, yeah, actually; as well as at the other two 5-star hotels and the cruise ship that I worked for.” Phone: “Well, that’s ridiculous. Can I speak to your supervisor?” Me: “Unfortunately, we don’t have a supervisor present at the moment. My general manager will be back Monday morning at 8 am.”
Phone: “Okay and what is your name? Do you have an employee number?” I told them my name, but I didn’t have an employee number. Phone: “And your last name? What do you look like?” Me: “Excuse me…?” Phone: “Well, if you don’t have an employee number, how will I explain to your manager who I spoke to?” Me: “I’m the only one here with my first name, so please feel free to call my manager on Monday morning after 8 am and tell her you spoke to me.” Click.
And he never called. Must have realized that I was, in fact, right.
44. Who’s The Boss?
The owner of my hotel was a millionaire several times over, but you would never know it. His wife dressed like she was going to dinner with the President and he looked like a slightly worse-for-the-wear guest. He was a little old dude who walked around in khakis, Hawaiian shirts, and ratty shoes. But he was also an absolute shark and would wait to let you have it if he didn’t like you.
He typically spent all of his time in his windowless office in the basement making phone calls and doing who knows what else. This was over 20 years ago, and the town we lived in had about 50,000 people. We rarely had a security guard on staff and no security cameras, so he would occasionally chill out in the lobby to keep an eye on things if he was concerned about something.
As long as you did your job, this wasn’t an issue. He didn’t often chat with us unless it was in the back office because he wanted to be taken for a regular travel-weary guest. I personally think it was a game for him. If he was hanging out in the lobby, he would just sit and people watch or read the paper. However, there were times when people would become belligerent with the front desk staff for whatever reason and they would always start with, “I know the owner, you better do as I say.”
They would then go in on the fact that they were going to get him fired, etc. This guy had the best response. The owner would look up from his paper and say, “I have no idea who the heck you are, but stop bugging my staff. You aren’t getting an upgrade. You’re lucky I even let you stay after that.” After a guest was properly chastised and left for their room, he would give a lopsided grin and go back to reading the paper.
45. Slow Clap
I was checking in this girl who was in town for business and as usual, her company was paying for her stay. This lady was already kind of impolite, but I didn’t sweat it. It was 9 o’clock and she had bags under her eyes, so she probably was exhausted from her travels. I made small talk, which she barely partook in, but she did mention that she had driven for hours from the next major city over because of a sudden transfer.
Bingo. Her company is moving her all over the place on short notice. I asked her what her method of pay would be and immediately got an alert that the company’s card on file had expired. I had to break the news. “I’m so sorry ma’am, but the card on file that we were given is expired. Is there any way you can get a hold of them and maybe we can work something out? I just need a valid card.”
That did it. She broke. She turned around, paused, and started clapping. She clapped loudly and proudly. She clapped all the way out of the lobby. I paused for a moment and thought if I should be angry. But, you know what…no. She released her anger in a physical manner, rather than directing it at me or anyone else. You let that anger out, girl. You do you.
46. Ya Done Goofed
I had JUST gotten in for my 7 am to 3 pm shift, and my night auditor had just left for home. Within the first five minutes, I had one of the worst jerks I’ve ever walk up to me and flip his lid. We’ll call him Chad. Chad came downstairs and wasn’t very nice from the start. It was like 7:05 am, and I hadn’t even had my second cup of coffee yet.
Before I continue with the tale, I just want to say that Chad yelled at me a lot. I also didn’t tell him to stop, but for a good reason. Me: “Good morn—” Chad: “YOU SERIOUSLY CHARGED ME?! WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU!!” Me: “I’m sorry, I’m conf—” Chad: “YOU CHARGED ME FOR THE ROOM?” Me: “Yes?” Chad: “DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID?! Me: “I charged you for your stay?” Chad: “NO, YOU DESTROYED MY MARRIAGE!”
I was so confused. What the heck was this guy going on about? Chad: “YOU DESTROYED MY MARRIAGE.” Me: “…How, may I ask?” Chad: “YOU CHARGED MY CARD AND NOW MY WIFE IS GOING TO FIND OUT I WAS HERE!!!” Me: “Okay?” At that point, things were starting to click into place.
Chad: “I WAS HERE WITH A DIFFERENT WOMAN!!! WE SHARE A BANK ACCOUNT!” Me: “…I don’t see how I am at fault for you cheating on your wife?” Chad: “BECAUSE YOU CHARGED MY CARD. I NEED A REFUND RIGHT NOW.” Me: “No?” Chad: “YES, YOU NEED TO SWITCH IT TO MY AWARDS POINTS RIGHT NOW BEFORE SHE SEES THE CHARGES.” Well, I took a deep breath, because this was going to be bad.
Me: “Sir, I do not have the power to switch any reservation to a points reservation. You either have to do that online or through our reservation service. Once you are checked into the system, there is no switching to points or any way to do a refund unless for a very valid reason, and it has to be a valid reason.” Chad: “THIS IS A VALID REASON.”
Me: “Was there anything wrong with the room?” Chad: “No.” Me: “The check-in process was fine?” Chad: “Yes.” Me: “Nothing happened during your stay?” Chad: “No, it was fine!” Me: “Then why would I refund you?” Chad: “BECAUSE MY WIFE WILL KNOW I WAS HERE. THAT ISN’T MY WIFE IN THAT ROOM WITH ME, YOU KNOW.”I got really annoyed and I knew this was just going to go around in circles.
Me: “Okay dude, this is seriously your own fault. You chose to make the reservation without points, you saw the authorization go through, we charged your card for payment…You knew this would all happen. This is entirely your own fault.” Chad: “I NEED YOUR MANAGER RIGHT NOW.” Me: “No, you can call her tomorrow.”
Chad looked very confused and angry. I just slowly sipped my coffee, staring back. Chad stood at the desk for a minute, just staring at me. He then took out his phone and started playing on it. Me: “Is there anything else I can help you with?” Chad: “Yeah, a refund.” Me: “So, if that is all, I need you to please step aside so I can help the next person in line.” And then at that moment, Chad had a huge realization.
He realized the entire lobby was full of firefighters and other people waiting to get help from the front desk. At that moment, my day was made. He looked horrified because he just admitted to an entire lobby that he cheated on his wife and he was blaming me, the front desk person, for his own horrible move. That is why I didn’t have him stop yelling. After he ran out of the lobby, he never came back down. He never called the desk. He quietly left the hotel. At one point, the firefighters and other guests started asking about him. I just smiled and said, “He messed up.”
47. Stay Safe
I was at the front desk when I got a call from one of my regular guests. He’s a sweet guy and I’ve never heard him complain about a single thing. He’s also a businessman, so he enjoys our low-cost, low amenity hotel. Guest: “Yeah, there’s a woman screaming near my room—it sounds like she’s really in distress.” Me: “NO PROBLEM! I’ll check it out!”
I raced down the corridor towards the fire exit. His room was situated as far away from the other guests as possible, so I knew it had to be someone using the fire exit system. I burst through the door and saw a strange, disturbing sight. A very large man was pulling a small woman by the elbows up the stairs.
Me: “What’s going on here? Sir, this is a fire exit.” Big Guy: “Sorry, it’s all good here.” Small woman: “I don’t know where I am, where are my friends? The woman was extremely intoxicated. She couldn’t stand up straight. The moment she started speaking, the guy let go of her. She kept repeating herself and stumbling up and down the stairs.”
Big Guy: “Go with him, he’s trying to help you, he works here.” He then quickly disappeared up the stairs. She kept shouting that she didn’t know where she was or who we were. She was staring off in random directions and I had to grab her arm to lead her back to the lobby. She was completely out of it.
Me: “Do you have a hotel room?” Small woman: “No, no. “There were multiple attempts to try and get some information from her. I sat her down in the lobby and asked if I could call anyone for her. She fell off the chair. I tried to give her water, but she just dropped it. Clearly, this woman’s drink had been spiked. I mean, she was completely incoherent in a strange way.
So I called for an officer to assist and he was able to find the whereabouts of where she was staying. Her story never developed past that, thank goodness…but I did see the big guy who tried to lead her upstairs after a good few hours. Me: “So, was that your friend…or?” Big Guy: “No man, I just found her like that outside one of the clubs”
Me: “So you tried to take her to your hotel room?” He just shrugged and smiled. My blood went cold. The worst part is, we had two more incidents just like this happen in the span of two weeks, with the manager being responsible for stopping the other two.
For what it’s worth, I told the officer everything I saw; though, he never made a follow-up call with me. I would hope that this was due to the officer taking the proper course of action; that is, getting her medical attention and speaking to her once she was of sound mind. I could’ve done more definitely, but I’m confident I did all I could do under the circumstances. It was quite a situation to be in and I was definitely not thinking clearly. I did send a report to corporate and my manager and heard nothing further.
48. Come Closer, Little Girl
As I pulled up to work last night, I saw the girl who worked the swing shift being led to our second building by a very creepy-looking dude. She was young and petite and he had the look of a spider who had just caught himself a nice, juicy fly. Her eyes were wide with fear and she kept trying to make excuses, but he was insistent that he couldn’t get into his room and needed her to help him.
Reading the situation, even though I was still in my motorcycle gear and not yet technically in uniform, I told her that I’d escort him down. He still insisted that she do it, though he couldn’t give a good reason why. I said fine, but I stayed right behind them. At one point, he actually put his hand on her lower back and I politely but firmly asked him not to touch our employees.
He took his hand off of her, but he was obviously not happy about my presence. We finally got to his door and he made a half-baked attempt to use his key card as if to prove he wasn’t lying about not being able to get in. I could tell he was about to ask her to do it for him, so I stepped in and said, “Allow me, sir.” I took the card from him and what do you know—the door unlocked on my first try.
He gave me a half-hearted “Thanks, buddy.” Then he went into his room, slamming the door behind him. She thanked me and told me he’d been creeping her out for a while. Maybe I was reading too much into the situation, but I shudder to think what might have happened if I’d shown up just a couple of minutes later. I considered calling the authorities but I figured they couldn’t really do anything because they can’t detain someone for being a creep.
49. It’s Quittin’ Time
I used to be a property manager at a major motel chain in the US. The general manager was a company rock star who spent a lot of time helping other properties, so I was the acting GM a lot (like I was that night). This was a 96 room property—a four-building box layout with a swimming pool in the center. We had a lot of construction contracts.
These were easy guests who worked all day, came back, played cards and drank, and turned in early. I was at home when my phone rang at 3 am. It was Josh, the night auditor. Josh was reliable, but he drank a lot every week and was typically loopy. Josh: “Hey man, you probably want to come down here. Someone just drove a truck into the swimming pool.”
Me: “That’s…impossible. It’s fenced in.” Josh: “Dude, they crashed through it.” Me: “How could a truck even get in the courtyard?” Josh: “They drove through the gap between buildings two and three.” I started visualizing the scene—Building #2 is on a hill above one and three, and there’s a gap there. Someone determined enough could point a truck downhill, put the pedal down, and build up the momentum to crash the chain link and go into the pool. So yeah, it was possible.
Me: “Josh, you had better not be screwing with me.” Spoiler alert: Josh wasn’t screwing with me. I got to the motel and there was a construction company pick-up truck nose down in the swimming pool and its tailgate in the air. I had to blow up the phones at corporate, get the authorities out, start documenting everything, photographing everything, deal with the other guests, etc. until way past dawn.
It turned out, two of the crew members had been drinking and decided to quit in the most spectacular way they could think of. We even had an eyewitness. She told the officers that one guy drove and the other guy rode standing up in the flatbed, holding on to the top of the cab and yee-hawing all the way down the hill. The construction company did the repairs themselves.
50. Karen On Tour
This happened yesterday. I’m a bellman for a tourist hotel that has had a mask policy, but with the updated mandate, we now also have a health questionnaire that must be filled out upon check-in. A group of three had checked in and were wandering around the lobby, one with his nose out, one holding a mask against her face, and one without one at all.
Me: “Hey, folks, if we could wear those properly it would be very appreciated.” Karen: “But I’m staying in this hotel.” Me: “It’s a state mandate, I’m sorry.” Karen: “Well, the mandate says if you have a medical condition, you don’t have to wear one.” Me: “So you’re stating you have medical issues?” Karen: “Yes, they give me headaches, so I won’t be wearing one.”
Me: “I’m sorry for that inconvenience.” At this point, she got a huge, smug smile that let me know she thought she had won. Me: “You’re staying here? Did you check in yourself or did someone else check you in?” Karen: “I checked myself in, I’m not a child!” Me: “Well, then you remember signing the health questionnaire when you checked in? The one that asked if you had medical issues preventing mask-wearing and if you planned on wearing a mask?”
Karen: “I didn’t sign anything like that” Me: “What room are you in?” Karen: “I don’t have to tell you that, you’ll stalk me!” Me: “No, I just want it so I can find your questionnaire. If you’ll come to the front desk, please.” My supervisor now came to my side. Supervisor: “I have it here, I remember them checking in.”
“He slid it under the sneeze guard and I grabbed it.” Me: “Your name is Karen McDoobie? Is this your signature?” Karen: “I didn’t know that’s what that was! You expect me to read every little thing you idiots hand me?” Me: “Just the five-foot sign about masks and the check-in paperwork, which states that you have no medical issues and that you agree to our mask policy.”
Karen: “What can you do about it? Are you the manager?” Me: “No, I’m the bellman. But I have a duty to our guests and staff.” Karen: “I’m a guest, you idiot, I just told you that!” Me: “If you break hotel policy, that can change. So which is it? Are you a policy-abiding guest or do you have medical issues that will prevent your stay with us tonight?”
Karen: “Ridiculous! I would never have come if I’d known I’d be harassed like this. My town doesn’t have any mask policy and everyone is fine!” Me: So you’ll wear the mask? Karen: “I made these reservations last week! Everywhere else will be full!” Me: So you’re okay wearing the mask inside the hotel?” At that point, I was the one with a smug smile under my mask.
She grabbed the mask that was hanging on her wrist and held it on her face. Heading for the elevator, I could hear her mumble under her breath. As the doors closed, I saw her pull the mask away and wave it at me. At least she didn’t come out of her room all night, thank God!