Everyone Is Winning

, , , | Hopeless | July 2, 2017

(The hotel I work at is located a block away from the local arena and has both a pool and a games room. Since none of the other hotels in the area have either, we are very popular with sports teams, specifically children’s hockey teams. I’m working the front desk one night when we’ve checked in two competing hockey teams, all children around nine and ten years old who all seem to know each other. While the parents are all hanging out in the lounge, most of the kids are either in the games room or the pool. I happen to notice on the security feed that there is a group of about eight boys playing on the second floor in the hallway, passing around little rubbers balls with mini plastic hockey sticks. I head upstairs to let them know we can’t have this.)

Me: “Hey, boys, I hate to ruin your fun but I can’t have you playing up here. Other people are getting ready for bed and it might disturb them. How about you join your friends in the games room?”

(All the boys immediately stop playing and hang their heads, beginning a chorus of “I’m sorry.” One little boy comes to the front of the group.)

Boy #1: “Excuse me, ma’am? Can we play this game in the games room? Or is there another place we can go play?”

Me: “Well, I do have an empty conference room on the first floor next to where your parents are. If you promise to behave you can play in there.”

(They all thank me and follow me downstairs. There are tables in the room and they ask if they can move them aside and I say yes. I come to check on them a few minutes later and they have folded the tables up and have arranged the room into a mini hockey rink and are playing nicely so I smile and let them be. A few minutes later, a small boy of about seven or eight comes up to the front desk.)

Boy #2: “Excuse me, ma’am, are there some kids in that room?” *he points to the conference room*

Me: “Yes, there are some boys playing in there.”

Boy #2: “Okay, thanks!”

(He runs to the room and comes back a few seconds later.)

Boy #2: “Excuse me, can you please call up to room 212 and tell my mom that [Brother] and I are playing downstairs and we’ll be back at 9.30?”

Me: “Absolutely!”

(He runs back happily and I call his room and talk to his mom. She laughs and thanks me but asks me to remind the boys that their curfew is 9:00. I go tell the boys and they shout a thank you and give me a big smile. Over the next hour or so several parents come by to check on the kids and ask if they are behaving themselves. I tell them the story of how I found them upstairs and how well behaved and polite they have been. Meanwhile many other kids from the games room and pool are coming by and politely asking for change for the vending machines, directions to the restrooms, extra pillows, etc. and always saying excuse me, please, and thank you. Several other kids go in to join the boys playing in the conference room. Finally the door to the conference room opens and all these little boys come parading past the front desk holding their hockey sticks and rubber balls.)

Boy #1: “Excuse me, ma’am, we just wanted to say thank you and let you know we cleaned up the room. Have a good night!”

(They each say “thank you” and “good night” as they walk by and I thank them each. I then go to the conference room to clean it and find they did in fact clean the room and put the tables and chairs back almost exactly as it had been and even picked up their candy wrappers and drinks and put them in the garbage and neatly tied up the bag. As I’m straightening up the last few details a few of the parents come up to me.)

Parent #1: “Hey, I hope they boys weren’t too much trouble. I know they were a bit noisy.”

Parent #2: “We’ll pay for any damage they caused.”

Me: “Actually, I have to say that these have been the sweetest, most well behaved bunch of kids I have ever had in here. I have been working here for years and have seen probably hundreds of teams and these are by far my favorite bunch. I have had full grown adults who gave me more trouble than they did. I really hope you all become regulars. We would love to see you back!”

Parent #1: “Well, thank you so much! They can be pretty rowdy, don’t let them fool ya, but I’m so happy to hear they’ve been good.”

Parent #3: “I am so proud of our boys right now, our MEN, I guess I should say!”

(A few days after they checked, our my manager received an email from the group leader, telling her how much the boys enjoyed their stay and how nice the lady at the front desk had been to them all. They thanked us profusely for everything, told us they had each left a glowing review of our hotel online, and promised to make this their regular spot each year that they came back. I personally look forward to having them. They made my night!)

Welcome To The Hotel Exaggeration

, , , , , | Working | June 27, 2017

(I used to work at a very prestigious five-star hotel in Central London. Naturally with the territory comes some guests who, in my experience, were impossible. This is however not that kind of story. I am currently an hour into the morning shift when my service phone rings. The call registers from the front desk.)

Me: “In-Room Dining. [My Name] speaking.”

Front Desk: “Hi, [My Name]. Can you go to [Guest Room] and help [Affluent Guest] out, please?”

(Note: Affluent Guest, as I would soon find out, was a regular at this hotel. She also established a reputation with most if not all the hotel staff as being incredibly demanding and impossible to please. This is the first time I am dealing with her.)

Me: “Sure. What is the problem, may I ask?”

Front Desk: “You know? I actually haven’t got a clue, mate. Is this your first time dealing with her?”

Me: “The guest? Yes. Yes, it’s the first time.”

Front Desk: “Okay, just to let you know she’s VERY impatient and extremely rude, so be careful, okay?”

Me: “Thanks for the heads up. I’m on my way to the room now.”

(I hang up and head up to the floor that Affluent Guest is on. On the way I cross paths with one of the housekeeping associates.)

Housekeeping Associate: “You going to [Affluent Guest]’s room?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Housekeeping Associate: *rolls eyes* “She’s craaaaazy. Don’t let her get her way!”

Me: “I won’t.”

(I’m a little bit concerned about how much of an issue this particular guest is perceived as, but for benefit of the doubt I just put it down to exaggerations on the hotel’s part. I find the room, knock, and then enter to see a frail, old Chinese lady sitting on the sofa.)

Me: “Good Morning, ma’am. My name is [My Name]; I understand you’re having some sort of issue with your room?”

Guest: “Hello, my dear. Yes, I cannot get the window to open, see? And it’s very hot in here!”

(From the moment I walked in I could feel the humidity. On this particular summer day in London, the heat was out in force.)

Me: “I see. Unfortunately, ma’am, because we are on the seventh floor, the windows are locked shut for your own safety. Have you tried your air conditioning?”

Guest: “I have, my dear. But I don’t know how to work it properly.”

Me: *starting to get a little bit concerned* “Okay… has anyone else came to the room to help you?”

Guest: “Yes, but they didn’t do as I asked. They thought I wanted to change rooms! All I want is to get the air conditioning working.”

Me: “Of course, I completely understand, ma’am. Let me see what I can do for you.”

Guest: “Thank you so much, young man.”

(I go over to the A/C unit and realise that not only is it not on, it’s also broken. In regards to the guest, the perception of her being anything but pleasant has completely faded away at this point, but I’m more so concerned that this elderly lady was allowed to sit in such heat for such a long time.)

Me: “Okay, ma’am. I realise what’s the problem. Your A/C unit here is not working for whatever reason. Did anyone else check the unit?”

Guest: “No, not at all!”

Me: *stunned at this* “Okay. Here’s what I’m going to do now for you. I will be calling the engineers to the room to see if they can fix the A/C. In the meantime, I would recommend you go down to the restaurant on the second floor. We have air conditioning down there so you can cool off and relax whilst the problem here is fixed. I’ll also ask the restaurant to have a cool drink waiting for you to make up for the issue. How does that sound, ma’am?”

Guest: “That sounds very nice! Thank you for your understanding. May I have your name?”

Me: “You certainly can. It’s [My Name].”

Guest: “Thank you, [My Name]. I will be leaving a message about your conduct tomorrow before I leave. Thank you so much for your time!”

Me: “It’s my pleasure, ma’am. Have a nice day!”

(I left, happy that I was able to resolve the guest’s problem AND shatter the pretensions of nearly everybody else about that guest, and all because I didn’t over exaggerate her issue, and instead treated her problem as something that was easy to fix in less than an hour. Never let other people’s perceptions cloud yours.)

Things That Go Thump In The Night

, , , , | Right | June 27, 2017

(Around 11 pm, the start of my overnight shift at our hotel, a middle aged woman walking a dog approaches the front desk.)

Woman: “Can you call me a cab to go to Jack-Jacks?”

Me: “I’m not familiar with that name. Is it in town?”

Woman: “Oh, yes, my daughter is there. Drinking, dancing, like young people like to do.”

(Since there was only one bar open in town, I gave her that name and she agreed it was the place. The name was not at all close to “Jack-Jacks.”)

Me: “You don’t need a cab; it’s only two blocks away.”

(Off she goes, dog in tow. At about 1:30 am, I hear a loud thumping sound from upstairs. As I am about to go up to investigate, I get a call from room 301 complaining about the thumping sound and yelling in the room below. I go up to room 201 and hear the thumping and two women yelling at each other in some kind of Asian language. I knock on the door and a dog comes to the door to bark, but no one answers the door. I knock several more times:)

Me: “This is the front desk clerk. Please open this door!”

(I can still hear thumping and yelling and barking, but no one answers. I go downstairs to call the room, but the call repeatedly goes to voicemail. I try knocking again and still hear yelling, thumping, barking, but no one comes to the door.  I go downstairs and get a call from 301:)

Guest: “That’s it! I’m calling the police!”

Me: “I’ve tried calling and knocking on the door and I’ve gotten no response, so I am calling the police.”

(A few minutes later, a couple of police officers are there. One of the officers knocks on the door.)

Officer: “This is the police.”

(There is still no response. I go downstairs to get a master key, when I can hear by the increased volume of the barking that the door has been opened. I go up to the room and find the officers in the room and a young woman sobbing and holding the dog I’d seen earlier in the evening.)

Officer: “She says her mother is stuck in the bathroom and can’t get out.”

(Unfortunately, the pocket doors on our bathrooms do stick on occasion, but why the young woman hadn’t come to me with the problem is a mystery for the ages. However, I do think the solution has something to do with too much alcohol consumption. We are able to open the bathroom door and the mother, the same woman I had seen earlier, comes out, furious.)

Woman: *yelling* “I come all the way from Thailand to see my daughter, and she locks me in bathroom. Call me a cab; I’m taking a plane back to Thailand.”

(I don’t think she’d thought that plan all the way through — again, perhaps alcohol was involved. Eventually, I convinced her it was not her daughter’s fault the door stuck. I was glad they were already scheduled for check out in the morning.)

Dogged With Complaints

, , , , | Right | June 24, 2017

(I work front desk at a hotel. We have a strict policy on pets. While pets are welcome to stay at the hotel, we do charge a hefty price for their stay. On this particular day there is a local dog show event in the area. We’ve been getting guests all day staying with their dogs. This guest is no different.)

Me: “Hello, welcome to [Hotel]. Checking in?”

Guest: “Yes, I would like to get a room for the night. It’s just me and my friend, so we would like a room with two beds in it.”

Me: “Okay, no problem. So, what brings you to the area?”

Guest: “Oh, I was showing my dogs at the local dog show.”

Me: “Oh, that’s sounds awesome. Just so that you’re aware, we are pet friendly, but it is $20 per pet per night.”

(Guest stops mid-sentence and looks at me like I just slapped her across the face.)

Guest: “Excuse me? That is a rip off!”

Me: “I’m terribly sorry, ma’am, but it is our company policy.”

Guest: “But they’re show dogs! They’re not some ordinary filthy animal; I demand I be charged less for my dogs. I want to speak to a manager!”

(So, of course I oblige and call my district manager and tell him about the situation. He tells me that it’s all right if I charge her only $10 per dog as long as she doesn’t have more than two dogs with her in the room.)

Me: “I just got off the phone with my manager. He said that we can reduce the cost of fee down to $10 per dog. How many dogs will be staying with you?”

Guest: “That’s the best you can do?! This is ridiculous! They’re show dogs! I should not be charged this much for them.”

Me: “Again, ma’am, I’m sorry for this inconvenience, but that is as low as I can go on the price.”

Guest: “Fine! I’ll just go somewhere else!”

(Guest leaves in a huff. I go back to what I was doing. Not even an hour goes by when the same guest comes back, practically yelling the entire transaction.)

Guest: “Well, I guess we are just going to have to take the room. No one else around here will accept my dogs! I demand we have a room next to an entrance on the first floor away from other guests.”

Me: “I only have a couple rooms left; we are rather full tonight. I will try to get you as close to an entrance as possible.”

Guest: “Unbelievable!” *shaking head, looking like I’m the stupidest person she ever saw*

Me: “I am able to get you a room on the first floor and it’s as close to one of the entrances I can find. I just need you to sign and initial this registration.”

(On our registration form, the guest must initial for the rate they agreed to pay, initial if they brought any pets and how many, and sign at the bottom. Once the registration form is signed, no refund can be given if they have an issue with the price of the room, and if there is any damage done to the room they will be charged for the incidentals. She signed the registration form stating on it that she only had two dogs in the room and left with her keys. Now, at the front desk, we have a screen with cameras on it that cover all the hotel and entrances. I watch as she starts to unload into her room. She and her friend bring in not two dogs, but five! Needless to say, with permission from the manager I charged her the original price of $20 per pet for the additional dogs. I heard later that she talked with my manager about the extra charges and he pretty much told her off, in a polite way, of course. Thankfully we didn’t hear from her again.)

Their Heart Just Isn’t In It

, , , | Working | June 19, 2017

(I work at a hotel on the night shift. Tonight, about 20 minutes into my shift, my security guard radios telling us he needs an ambulance to the staff break-room — for himself. We call right away, but he stops responding on the radio and we don’t know exactly what the issue is.)

Emergency Operator: “What is the problem he’s experiencing?”

Coworker: “Well, we’re not sure; he’s at the back of the hotel and we’re at the front, but he has had some documented medical issues recently.”

Emergency Operator: “Well, I need you to go to where he is and call me again from there with details.”

Coworker: “Okay.”

(She hangs up, and is about to start walking back, but barely gets five feet before one of the housekeepers radios again saying that the guard is having a heart attack. Not wanting to waste a moment, I tell my coworker to keep going but call for an ambulance again immediately.)

Me: “I’m calling from [Hotel]; our security guard is having a heart attack!”

Emergency Operator: “Okay, well, is he sitting up or laying down?”

Me: *thinking that the way this transaction should have gone was ‘I say heart attack, you say ambulance’* “What? I don’t know! I’m not where he is right now!”

Emergency Operator: *sounding annoyed* “I told the other girl that she needed to call me from where he is.”

Me: “Yeah, I know, but then we were told he is HAVING A HEART ATTACK! It’s a big hotel! I didn’t want to waste the time of her getting back there!”

(I actually had to radio to the back and get my coworker to tell me things like whether he was breathing and what position he was in before she’d send me an ambulance. Thankfully they got there in time — and yes, it was confirmed to definitely have been a heart attack!)

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