You Definitely Want Him More Than Fifty Miles Away

, , , | Right | August 15, 2019

(I work the front desk of an inexpensive hostel. It’s a travelers hostel, so we don’t accept residents of the city. All guests have to show proof of address on their ID that shows they live at least fifty miles outside of the city limits. The rule exists mainly because displaced residents of the city will try to live at the hostel for extended periods of time, and criminals will use it as a place to conduct their business because it’s so inexpensive. Because of that, we don’t accept US passports and can only take state IDs for US citizens. It is around 9:40 at night, and a man who is notorious for sneaking into the hostel to use the facilities without paying has a reservation under his name. He walks in, messily eating a mango, and brings a middle-aged man in with him.)

Me: “Hi, how are y’all?”

Mango-Eating Man: “I brought my friend in here to get him checked in under my name.”

Me: *addressing the friend* “Okay, no problem. I’ll just need your ID so we can go ahead and change the reservation to your name.”

Middle-Aged Man: *annoyed* “Okay, here.”

(He puts some old, tattered US passport on the desk about a foot from me.)

Me: “Do you have a state ID? We’re a travelers hostel, so we have to see an address on your ID that shows you live at least fifty miles outside of the city.”

Middle-Aged Man: *still annoyed and hardly listening* “What?”

Me: “We can’t take a US passport. We need a state ID to verify you aren’t a local resident.”

Middle-Aged Man: “Ugh. Here.”

(He pulls out some card that only has his photo, his name, and the words “The State of Commonwealth of Massachusetts” on it. It doesn’t have his date of birth, an ID number, an issue date, or an expiration date. It looks like a job ID badge. I’m not terribly familiar with out-of-state IDs, and I don’t get a chance to get a good look at it. He briefly flashes it and begins to put it back in his wallet.)

Me: “Is that a state ID?”

Middle-Aged Man: *getting angry* “Yes, what more do you want?”

Me: “Well, I have to input your name as it shows on your ID, your date of birth, your ID number, and the expiration date of your ID.”

Middle-Aged Man: “Well, mine doesn’t have all that.”

Me: “Then it’s not a valid ID. We have several people check in from all over the country and the world every day, and that looks nothing like the other Massachusetts IDs I’ve seen. Can I see it?”

Middle-Aged Man: “I’ll just write all that information down.”

Me: “The card you showed me has none of that. Is that what you would present to a police officer if they asked for identification?”

Middle-Aged Man: “This is what I have.”

(At this point, I’m willing to just take the passport, and his friend has all the while been slurping on the mango and licking the juice off his fingers.)

Me: “Is your passport expired?”

Middle-Aged Man: *very angry* “Yes.”

Me: “Okay, well, we can’t take it because it has to be valid and not expired. Can I see the ID you have so I can input the information?”

Middle-Aged Man: *glares at me* “You don’t need to see it.”

Me: “If you’re unwilling to show me your ID, then I can’t check you in.”

Middle-Aged Man: “You know what you are? You’re a Nazi.”

Me: “I’m going to have to ask both of you to leave. You’re being very rude. I’ve been nothing but nice, and you’re being insulting.”

Middle-Aged Man: *loses it* “I’m not being insulting! You’re a Nazi! You want all this information! And for no reason!”

Me: “You need to go.”

Middle-Aged Man: *walks away in a huff*

(His friend who brought him in and who has been eating the mango the whole time speaks up.)

Mango-Eating Man: “Can I still use the reservation?” 

Me: “As long as you have a valid ID that does not have a local address, then yes. But you can’t sneak your friend back in here.”

Mango-Eating Man: *squinting and giving me a look like he’s got the last laugh* “I’ll be back later.”

(He emphasized “later” as if to mean after I got off. It’s nights like that one that make me eager to graduate college and get the heck out of customer service!)

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