Scary His License Hasn’t Been Declined, Either

, , , , | Right | April 6, 2020

(I am working the overnight shift at a hotel. At shift change, my coworker warns me that a guy was in earlier today and was so drunk that he could barely stand. Lots happened, but eventually, the police were called and he was taken away. The cops said he would probably be back to pick up his things once he sobered up, probably about six hours later, which would put him squarely in my shift. My shift goes well to start, and then, around 1:30 am, a guy comes in.)

Me: “Good evening. What can I do for you tonight?”

Guest: “I need to check in.”

Me: “Okay, do you have a reservation?” 

(All of the reservations for the previous day are in, so I want to make sure he’s at the right hotel.)

Guest: “No, I need to make a reservation and check-in.”

Me: “No problem.”

(We go through the normal questions — how long are you staying, what type of room, etc. As I get his info, I realize that this is the same guest I was warned about, who technically still has a room but has not paid for his stay tonight. He has also smoked in his room, which means I can’t use his deposit to pay for tonight’s stay as it will be used to cover the smoking charge.)

Me: “Okay, it looks like your previous reservation was extended, but I do need payment for tonight still.”

Guest: “Oh, okay.” *pulls out his wallet and starts looking through it* “Oh, man, I’m going to have to pay with my card.”

Me: “That’s not a problem; we take credit cards here.”

(I’m thinking to myself, “Great, I’ll have a card and won’t have to worry about any other potential damages.”)

Guest: *spends a minute fumbling with his wallet* “Sorry about that. Here you go.” *hands me his driver’s license*

Me: “This is a driver’s license. I need a credit card.”

Guest: “Oh, this is my only card. Can I use my credit card?”

Me: “Yes, I can take a credit card.”

Guest: *hands me his driver’s license*

Me: “This is a driver’s license, not a credit card.”

Guest: “Oh, sorry. I’ll have to use my credit card to pay. Is that okay?”

Me: “Yes.”

Guest: *hands me his driver’s license again*

Me: “Sir, this is not a credit card. I can’t take this.”

Guest: “Can you try it?”

Me: “There’s no chip or mag stripe for me to run through the machine. It isn’t tied to any financial institution or bank account; there is no way for me to take payment from a driver’s license. If you left your card in your room I can escort you down to get it so you can pay.”

Guest: “That would be great! You’re a lifesaver.”

(I escort the guest down to his room and I wait just inside the room with the door open while he goes to look for his card. He spends about fifteen minutes looking and eventually, I have to return to the desk to help another guest. I tell the guy I’ll be back in thirty minutes to get payment or he will have to gather his belongings and leave. About ten minutes later, the guest returns to the desk.)

Guest: “Found it!”

Me: “Perfect! Let’s get you taken care of.”

(I go to run the card, and I realize it’s a Visa Debit, which I have to run differently than a regular credit card. I fix the mistake and pass the terminal to the guest.)

Guest: *starts typing in PIN*

Me: “Wait, you can’t do your PIN yet; you need to follow the prompts on screen.”

(The guest finished and, surprise, surprise, his card was declined. He went back to his room to transfer funds to his account. Hopefully, he comes back and his card works, because I dread having to call the cops on him again.)

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