Unfiltered Story #216042

, | Unfiltered | November 21, 2020

Several years ago, my family stayed at a large chain hotel where my parents were attending a conference. My grandmother was watching my two sisters and me while we waited for the conference to be over. There was an indoor pool on our floor in view of all the rooms, kind of like a courtyard, where my sisters and I played and swam for most of the afternoon. Even though the gate was wide open, besides us, the pool was otherwise deserted, including no lifeguard. I don’t know if we saw a single soul that afternoon.

When my parents came back with dinner, we got out and realized our bathing suits had turned pale, almost to the point of being see-through. Our hair, which typically is long, thick, and dark brown, was discolored and the tips were almost blonde. After dinner, we tried to shower with especially strong shampoo, but after several latherings and three hours–three hours!– of brushing, our hair was still tangled like a bird nest. We gave up.

The next day when we left, Mom showed my swimsuit (a one piece which came with a skirt, which I hadn’t worn, so you could compare the deep blue of the skirt to the bleached robin’s-egg blue of the onepiece) and a clip of my hair to the desk attendant, demanding to know what happened, but they couldn’t help us. When we got home, Mom (who used to be an attorney and was very good at doing deep research) figured out what probably had happened.

She believes that they had shocked the pool (put chemicals in it to clean it) with TWICE the normal dosage (based on the degree of damage to our swimsuits and hair). She also discovered that the specific cocktail of chemicals she believes they used creates toxic gasses that could be FATAL if inhaled in certain concentrations. So we really should not have been allowed in the pool, but there was no sign telling us to stay out and nobody came by and told us to get out.

The damage to our hair was so bad that we had to get it cut from the small of our backs to above our shoulders, and we had to use very expensive, specialized shampoo and conditioner for several weeks.

Mom called the hotel, explained what she had discovered and what happened to our hair and swim suits. She mentioned that she had been a laywer and was not afraid to sue them if it came to that. She suggested that they pay for our hair treatment (and maybe reimburse us for our stay, I don’t recall) and we would call it a day. They gave us a verbal agreement, but I don’t know if anything ever came of it. They certainly didn’t follow through for quite a while, and Mom fought back. We got calls from them several times a week for almost a year. I remember reading the caller ID and calling out to Mom in her office, “Mom! Its [Hotel Name] again!” And she would say “Don’t pick up. Let it go to voicemail.” Several times a week. Sometimes several times a day. For a year.

I don’t know if anything ever got settled. Frankly I don’t really care. I’m just glad it’s over. And mine and my sisters’ hair is perfectly healthy now, so all’s well that ends well, I guess. I know I won’t be using that hotel chain again if I can help it.