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A Sticky Situation, But A Clean One

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: Blaizia | December 21, 2020

I work the PM shift in a small-town branch of a hotel chain. As I type this, one of our maintenance guys from corporate is installing cameras into all of our hallways. Honestly, they should’ve had cameras already, but I guess it took a guest damaging hotel property and us not having any way to identify who it was for corporate to finally do so.

Yesterday started off as a relatively quiet day with less than twenty-five arrivals. My general manager did the AM shift — we’re short-staffed right now — and told me it had been a quiet morning, with only one little weird thing that had happened. It seems that a guest who’d been staying on the fifth floor came down looking worse for wear and complained to my manager that ever since he’d checked in the previous night, he’d been feeling worse and worse, and he was convinced that it was something to do with the room. Upon heading up to check the room, the housekeeping manager was BLASTED by a strong smell of bleach. Turns out, someone had poured an entire container of bleach inside the closet. None of the housekeeping staff use bleach to clean the rooms, and we couldn’t find an empty bleach container, even in the trash, so other than alerting police and switching the guest to a room on the sixth floor, not much could be done.

That little mishap aside, I prepared myself to spend the majority of my shift at the front office just munching away on chips and browsing the Internet, since there wouldn’t be much else to do. The fates were not having it, though. I swear they have it out for me and are making sure something ALWAYS happens during my shift.

Around 6:00 pm, I got a call from a guest on the fourth floor:

Me: “Guest Services, [My Name] speaking. How can I help you?”

Guest: “Hi. I’m calling from my coworker’s room because I can’t get into mine. It looks like someone inserted a keycard into the door lock slot, superglued it, and then broke the rest off.”

I paused for a long moment.

Me: “I’m sorry. They what?”

Guest: “Yeah, and from what I can see, they did it to a few other rooms, as well.”

You cannot make this s*** up.

I told them that someone would be up there in a moment to assess the situation, hung up, and then dialed the bar, since the bartender was the current manager on duty, and if this guest was for real, he was going to need to know. He was swamped, and it was going be a few minutes before he could get up there, so I decided to just take five minutes to go up there myself and see what was up.

Yup. He wasn’t lying. This guest’s room and at least two other rooms had some sort of keycard-like piece of paper superglued into the door lock. I quickly took pictures as the guest who called suddenly arrived and started trying to jimmy it out, his being the only room that had enough sticking out to even try, and I took the moment to ask him some questions. He told me the following.

Guest: “I left the room for all of twenty minutes, and by the time I was back, the damage was done.”

This didn’t help a lot, since this could’ve been done while he was inside the room and he’d only just noticed.

Guest: “I don’t know who’s staying in the other two rooms with glued locks.”

So, this wasn’t someone trying to pull a bad prank or get some revenge on one group of people.

The bartender/manager on duty arrived and started looking at the door locks and asking the guest some questions himself, so I left them to it and headed back to the front desk to make some calls. We ended up having to call up our maintenance guy to come over so he could try and fix the locks, and we got our general manager to come take a look at the cameras to see if we could find anything. I called both of the other two rooms affected; only one of them was in, so I just explained the situation, apologized, and moved them to the room directly in front of them. The other room never found out that anything went wrong since he still wasn’t back by the time it was fixed.

Today, when I come in, I find out they still haven’t been able to fix one of the rooms and that there was another room on the fifth floor that had also been tampered with in the same way. Guess what room it was? Yup, the bleach room. So now, we’re even more confused and wary, because there’s no way that’s a coincidence seeing as it was the ONLY room on that floor affected. We also found the superglue and keycard remnants in the trashcan by the fifth-floor elevators. We did discover that the keycards used were from another nearby hotel, but we have no evidence to suggest that one of their employees is the culprit.

Right now, we still do not have any leads on who might have done it, apart from the guy who was in the bleach room, since my general manager found him to be a bit weird. Apart from that, we don’t have much to go on since, until today, we didn’t have any cameras on the hallways to the rooms, only in the area of the elevators. Yes, we’ve already looked at the cameras in the fifth-floor elevators to see who might’ve thrown away the glue, but the quality is not good and there were multiple things thrown away, so there’s no way to pinpoint who threw what.

The bleach room is still out of order as the police are investigating.

All in all, it’s been an eventful week, and I guess in a way, that’s the fun part about working in this industry. It keeps you on your toes and certainly not bored.