There’s a reason why I’ve inspired more hotel managers to have eye rolls than TripAdvisor, kids.
I tend to say things other hospitality workers would never even think, much less say to a guest. For example, when a guest in her sixties called my desk early on a cold, blustery winter’s morn, I was in no mood to deal with idiocy, well-meaning or not.
GLADYS: (Trust me, she was a Gladys.) Yes, I need some help. We ordered four robes from Housekeeping yesterday and now one is missing! What do I do now?
ME: Well, I can transfer you to Housekeeping, miss, I’m sure they’ll be able to help you…
GLADYS: NO, DON’T DO THAT! They’ll charge me eighty bucks for the missing robe, you dumb bastard!
Yes, she went there.
To my credit, I took a moment to process her assumption concerning my heritage – and then I slammed the receiver on the desk several times. (It’s become an old trick at our desk when dealing with morons.)
GLADYS: Are you still there? I think we have a bad connection…
ME: It certainly appears that way, miss.
GLADYS: Well, can you help me or not?
ME: Honestly, miss, I don’t know too many people who could take that job on… but I’ll transfer you to Housekeeping anyway. The robe was most likely removed when they cleaned your room yesterday. Don’t worry too much about it, okay?
GLADYS: Fine… I didn’t think you could help me anyway! What would one call the Bell Desk for anyway?
ME: If you need your luggage transported downstairs, give me a call… or if someone dies, of course.
GLADYS: You handle that?
ME: No, but I write a blog, so I’m always looking for material. Have a nice day!
And I immediately hung up the phone, cursing the fact that I couldn’t see the look on her face as she processed my scathing sarcasm.
But Fate wasn’t done with me yet, it seems. The phone rang again an hour later. Guess who was on the other end?
GLADYS: Yes, we haven’t found any dead bodies in the room… but we need help with our luggages!
ME: (Letting out a deep sigh out of range of the phone.) Of course you do. I’ll be right there, miss.
And so I made my way to the Fifth Level of Hell, otherwise known as Room 2415. And then the fun really began…
Gladys was a white, frazzled, sixty-year-old-woman who spoke in bounding exclamations – and had no filter whatsoever.
GLADYS: We’re going to go downstairs and get the car, now! I’m going to leave you behind to load the bags! Think you can handle everything from here!
“Here we go…”, I thought.
ME: I’m going to tell you what I told my wife on our honeymoon, miss: I’ll do my best. I can’t promise you’ll like everything I do… but I’ll get the job done. Feel free to vomit afterwards if you feel so inclined.
Gladys was traveling with her two granddaughters – one tween and one teen – and her own daughter. They all burst out into raucous laughter.
Gladys did not.
She just continued to ramble on as her family continued to laugh.
GLADYS: Just don’t forget anything!
ME: No one has ever deliberately forgotten anything, miss… though there’s a first time for everything, I suppose.
The laughter continued. Gladys merely turned away and set off to the lobby.
GLADYS’ DAUGHTER: Oh my… you’re HILARIOUS, Robert! We’ll see you downstairs for more jokes, I hope?
ME: I don’t think I should keep the routine going, ladies. Mom may not survive it.
After a moment of reflection, the cross-generational trio agreed. It’s best to quit when you’re ahead anyway, right?
This has been a public service announcement from The Hook. As per the norm (normal for my life, at least) there were no repercussions from my handling of the situation. Gladys tipped me, thanked me for my service and most likely made a vow to never return to Niagara Falls again.
See you in the lobby, kids…