Friday night, August 10, 2012, was a first for me in my 30 years of life. What happened to me was not only the first time something like this happened to me, but the first time I've even heard of anything like this happening to anyone.
My pregnant wife and I were doing an out-of-town overnight trip as we like to do on occasion. For this stay, we chose the Holiday Inn Express in Franklin, Ohio. We made a reservation online, walked in at about eight o'clock, gave the desk attendant my credit card, and he gave us a key to room 100, which he wrote on our little hotel booklet thingy.
At about 10:45, my wife and I started to do the deed, as we are wont to do on these occasions. And by do the deed, I mean have sexual intercourse (I'm getting old, I don't know if people still say “do the deed,” so sue me). At about 10:46, we finished. We got ready for bed. My wife fell asleep almost immediately, but I turned the TV on to watch Family Guy, as I wasn't yet tired. At about 11:15, I went to the bathroom to take a shit. A few minutes later I heard a commotion outside our room. At about 11:25, as I was wiping my ass, I heard the door open, then heard “Front desk.”
Furious, I flushed the toilet, pulled up my underpants, and called the front desk to see who the fuck just walked into my hotel room and what possible reason they could've had for doing so. The attendant said he'd be happy to discuss it with me shortly, and then put me on hold. Yes, you read that correctly. After my butt-naked wife was woken up in bed by an employee walking into our alledgedly secure hotel room, I wasn't even important enough to talk to right then. I have no idea what the hell could possibly be more important than a hotel guest you just walked in on, but I don't know, maybe they had just set someone else on fire, who knows.
So I put my clothes on and stormed down to the front desk with the “Quiet Please” sign the employee had removed from our door when he walked in. When I got to the front desk, the guy's first question was whether I was supposed to have checked out today. Not “Holy shit I'm so sorry, please don't beat my ass up.” No, it was him trying to blame me for the situation by suggesting I was trying to squat one more night than I'd paid for.
When I looked at him like he was retarded and said that I'd just checked in four hours ago, he asked my name, then said I was supposed to be in room 102, and that room 100 was listed as being empty in his computer. I said I didn't care what room his computer said I was supposed to be in, but when I checked in, we were told to go to room 100, room 10 was written down for us, and we were given a key that unlocked room 100. That's when he told me that it could've been worse because he had given a key to our room to other guests who had just shown up and had room 100 reserved, but they thought someone was in there so they didn't go in. Yes, that's right. Not only had he STILL not apologized, he was now trying the route of convincing that instead of being pissed off, I should be grateful because he had committed a MAJOR security breach by giving a key to my room to another guest. He also admitted that the guests he gave the key to were more intelligent than he was, because they were smart enough NOT to go into a room they suspected had other people in it.
Seriously, I feel I need to explain just how dumb this bastard was. First, there was a “Quiet Please” sign on the door. Second, the TV was on and while not overly loud, could certainly be heard from the door to our room. The guests who had a key to my hotel room were intelligent enough to realize those two clues probably meant that the room was occupied, but not the whiz kid at the front desk. Nope, that dumb bastard walked right in so he could see for himself. And by walked right in, I mean walked right in after he struggled to forcibly open the door because of the latch, which was closed only about 80% of the way because it was stuck because this is a shitty hotel. When I asked why he didn't realize that people were in the room when there were those three glaringly obvious clues, he said that it was only because the room was supposed to be empty. He just didn't get that unoccupied rooms don't tend to have TVs on and signs on the door, because the housekeeping staff tends to turn the TV off (if it's left on) and take any signs off the door to avoid that kind of confusion.
But it gets better. I asked him why he couldn't have called the room to see if anyone picked up before opening the door. He said he did call, he called room 102. I said “So let me get this straight, you wanted to know if anyone was in room 100, so you called room 102?” At first he started to tell me yes, because that's the room we were SUPPOSED to be in, but then apparently realized how fucking stupid that sounded, so he changed his story to he called both rooms. Which first of all, isn't any better, because that means the dumb son of a bitch is STILL saying he called room 102 to see if anybody was in room 100, and secondly it's a damn lie, because the phone in our room did not ring. I didn't hear it, and my wife didn't hear it, so unless the phone doesn't ring when someone calls it, he didn't call our room.
Then, he tried to blame it on me again, saying that it probably happened because I made the reservation online and sometimes online reservations get double-booked. I said that's all well and good, but whether it was double, triple, or quadruple-booked, once someone shows up, checks in, and is given a key to that room, anyone else who was booked for that same room, should be given :gasp: ANOTHER FUCKING ROOM. You don't just give multiple people keys to the same hotel room and shrug it off as “Maybe you shouldn't book a room online.” Of course, the guy had nothing to say to that. Probably because he could tell that by that point I was beyond furious. Normally, I like to brag to my wife about my super awesome people skills and my ability to stay calm in negative experience situations, but I had lost it. I was “what the fuck”ing and “Jesus Christ”ing and “Dumb Bastard”ing left and right. It would've made for one kickass YouTube video if someone had recorded kit.
Finally, after about seventy-five expletives, the guy finally realized he should probably apologize. So he did and he assured me that it was their fault. As if I needed to be told that it wasn't my fault his stupid ass had given a key to my room to someone else and then barged into my room after ignoring the three clues that the room was occupied. He then said I could talk to a manager if I wanted, which obviously I did. He said there wasn't one there now, but there would be soon with groceries, and that I could talk to them when they got in. You know, those after-midnight manager grocery runs.
And then came the best part. He offered to let me upgrade to a bigger room with a Jacuzzi free of charge. Like that makes everything okay. I asked him what the hell a free Jacuzzi was supposed to do for me when it was after midnight, we had already been in bed, and we were only staying one night so we'd be leaving after we woke up anyhow. That's like offering a free appetizer to an upset guest at a restaurant after they've finished their dessert. It hadn't even occurred to the stupid son of a bitch to credit my card back for the room, which I will not be paying for, no matter how many phone calls I have to make.
So after about five minutes of the inept douchebag trying to convince me that I shouldn't be pissed off because it was a simple mistake and he apologized and offered me a free Jacuzzi, I'd had enough. No asshole, a free Jacuzzi that I can't even really use does not make up for the fact that I now don't feel safe sleeping in a hotel because I don't know who might waltz in with a key to my room because the hotel employees are bumbling, inept ass clowns. So finally I just stormed back to the room because clearly I was getting nowhere. I took the “Quiet Please” sign, and with a pen wrote “No seriously, there's people in here” on it, then hung that onto the door. And as for that stuck latch, don't worry, I pushed that son of a bitch down as far as it will go. And then I stuck a piece of furniture in front of the door just for good measure.
And then I started writing. Corporate complaints, online reviews, this piece, you name it. I am going to make sure that everyone knows that if you stay at this hotel, they just might give a key to your room to a total stranger. After I talk to the manager (who I was told would be here at 1 or 2, it's now 2:15) I'll decide how many local news agencies are going to get a scoop on this story of a local hotel employee giving out keys to a guests' room to a stranger, and then walking into that room because they were too dumb to figure out that the room was occupied. And you may think I'm making too big a deal out of this, but here's the thing. When people do things (even make mistakes) that are a very big deal because they could have very big consequences to other people, it is your duty to make a very big deal out of it, because otherwise, businesses drop their guard on important things that should never be slacked on. Hotel room security is a very big deal. And most times, the person who is given the key to someone's room by accident would be a law-abiding upstanding individual who wouldn't do anything untoward. But the one time that key is given to someone of less than morally upstanding character, something very bad can happen, and then people realize what a big deal it is, so you can't wait for something terrible to happen to realize it's a big deal. And even from a more practical standpoint, just in my situation tonight, this could've easily been very, very bad. If the hotel employee had opened my door just one or two minutes later, he'd have gotten an R-rated view of my fat ass coming out of the bathroom from taking a shit. And if he'd opened that door 45 minutes earlier when we were “doing the deed,” (if you remember, that means having sexual intercourse), well let's just say they'd have had one hell of a lawsuit on their hands.
And that's the other thing. A lot of people go to hotels to do some very adult things at that time of night. Why the hell anyone would risk barging in on someone having sex is beyond me. I mean it's not like barging into a kindergarten classroom in the middle of the afternoon where you might accidentally see an old lady with glasses and a sweater vest talking about the letter people. We're talking about a hotel room at night that's occupied by one really fat guy and his pregnant wife. And unless fat guys and pregnant chicks are your thing, that's quite a show to walk in on.
Well, it's now 2:30 in the morning and we've still not received the call that the manager has gotten here yet (unless of course the phone actually doesn't ring). Which means, I've likely either been lied to or attempted to be placated until the morning, at which point they're hoping I've calmed down some. What they don't realize, is that after a night of not sleeping well because I get to wonder about strangers barging into my room, I'll be even more pissed off in the morning. And better yet, in the morning, there will probably be a lot more guests roaming the halls who will be able to hear my tirade. Well, that's something to look forward to I guess.
:NEXT MORNING UPDATE:
At 10:30, having never heard from the manager, we went to check out. The genius who checked us into the wrong room the previous night was at the counter, clearly not looking like he wanted anything to do with me. Wonder of all wonders, that man who enabled the security breach that allowed a total stranger to have a key to the hotel room where my butt-naked pregnant wife was sleeping,was the manager I had been told about the night before. He hadn't come in at 1:00 or 2:00 or any time in between. He came in at 7:00. Just a bit later than the 2:00 I was told was the late threshhold for when he would be arriving. He also wasn't aware that he was supposed to call my room so I could talk to him. Or he just didn't want to because he was hoping that somehow the angry fat man whose room was barged into would just disappear quietly into the sunset and never be heard from again. The first thing I said to the man was that I wanted to see the paperwork showing that I wasn't going to be charged for the room I clearly wasn't safe or secure in and hardly slept in. Then I wanted to know how in the hell it could be that another guest was given a key to my hotel room. The manager said it was "just a computer mixup." No, asshole, a computer mixup is when I reserve a room with a Jacuzzi, and I get one that doesn't have a Jacuzzi. When the key to an occupied hotel room is given to another guest (who could be a murderer, rapist, thief, or Mormon mission team), it's negligence and a clear breach in secutity. Then I wanted to know why a hotel employee would remove a "Quiet Please" sign on a room door, and enter a room where he had to forcibly maneuver the door because the stuck latch was at least mostly closed, and a room in which you could hear the TV on. The genius manager said "Employees should never enter a room with that sign on the door, I'll have a talk with him." Of course when I asked who would be having a talk with HIM, since he was the one who started the whole mess by entering the wrong number into a computer and allowing a key to my room to be given to someone else, he didn't have an answer for that.
Mind you, during this entire time, I'm talking as loudly as I can so everyone in the vicinity knows exactly what happened. Yes, I was THAT guy. Other hotel guests looked outright horrified and a janitor even continued mopping the same 4-foot square down the hall over and over just so he could stay in hearing range to know exactly how bad his boss had fucked up.
Finally, I pointed out that the manager didn't seem to be too concerned that a key to my room had been given to another guest and that his employee had walked into my room at 11:30 at night. He of course said that he really was concerned. I then pointed out that he hadn't even apologized yet, despite the fact that he was the one most responsible for the whole mess. He then did apologize, and reiterated that he would be talking to the guy who walked into my room.
So now my next mission is to tell everyone about this that I possibly, possibly can. I've already filled out countless online reviews, contacted the Holiday Inn corporate offices, and the Better Business Bureau. I tried to contact the franchise office that runs this location (Hariom Hospitality, LLC), but apparently "the franchise" is just one guy who runs this one location and doesn't actually have a franchsie office, so the franchise's listed address and phone number is just the hotel's information. But the guy will be in tomorrow at 9:00, so during my fifteen minute break at 9:45, his phone will be ringing. After that, my next step will be to contact the local news stations if my refund isn't applied to my account post-haste, because as of this writing, the refund hasn't posted, but the charge certainly has. I'll keep you all up to date, as I'm sure you're going to lose sleep because you can't wait to hear what happens next.
: Later That Week Update:
Well, I got ahold of the owner a couple days later, and...he was really REALLY nice. He apologized profusely, empathized with my situation, appreciated the alert that his staff was clearly not as concerned with guest privacy and security he was, and told me he had already scheduled a mandatory staff meeting and retraining about security and privacy as what had happened wasn't acceptable and would not be tolerated. I was very, very surprised. I almost felt bad for telling everyone I possibly could about his shitty hotel and shitty employees.
people have never had a hotel employee walk into their room when they were sleeping