He Left In The Nick(Name) Of Time

, , , , | Right | December 15, 2020

I work in a hotel near a popular amusement park. The area around isn’t the best, and we occasionally get some odd interactions, but nothing compares to what happened in this situation.

A man walks through the front door and heads for the stairs headed for the second floor. Since I normally work the evening shift, I assume he is a guest who checked in that morning and think nothing of it. After a few minutes, he comes back to the front desk.

Guest: “Hey, I’m trying to find my buddy on the second floor, but he never gave me his room number. Do you have a [Friend] on the second floor?”

Me: “Not that I am immediately aware of, sir, but if you give me a moment, I’ll see if I can’t find him for you. May I have your friend’s last name, please?”

Guest: “Oh, I don’t know his last name.”

I search in the computer system for a first-name of [Friend], but nothing comes up. The front desk also has cubbies for each room with the paperwork the guest has signed in each one, the names of the guest printed at the top. As I look through each cubby, I notice that the man is practically leaning over the desk, I assume to read the names, and alarm bells start ringing in my brain.

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I can’t find a [Friend] anywhere in our hotel for you.”

Guest: *In total seriousness* “His nickname’s ‘Johnny Hell,’ if that helps.”

Me: *Blinks* “Um, I don’t believe we keep guest’s nicknames on file, sir.”

The guest spots a folded piece of paper on the desk with a name handwritten at the top.

Guest: “Oh, what’s the room number for that one? That’s my girl’s name, so she must be staying here.”

The piece of paper is hotel paperwork for front desk agents to keep track of what snacks we’ve sold from our little mini-mart in the lobby. The name is my own, and it is the same name on my name-tag, which is in plain sight.

Me: “That is hotel paperwork, sir. It’s my name.”

Guest: “Oh, no way! Your name’s [My Name]?! My girl’s name is [Obvious mispronunciation of my name to try and make a distinction]! It’s Arabic! That’s so cool! Are you Arabic?”

I am in fact very white — so white I am often confused for a tourist from the Midwest. My name is also very white, and is, in fact, Scottish. I know that the name he gives me as “Arabic” is not, because of my interest in onomastics, the study of names.

Me: “No, sir, I am not Arabic.”

Guest: “Oh, well, I’ll be heading out, then. See you later!”

He then leaves the lobby, saying something I can’t make out. When the next shift comes in to relieve me, I relate the incident to my coworker.

Coworker: “I think you got punk’d.”

Me: “I’m still confused as to how he thought a nickname would help him find someone in a hotel.”

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