September 12, 2015 11:00p.m.
Tom didn’t do his job today. When I arrived at work, Tom was anxious to get out of the building as quickly as he could. Since I left my house ten minutes later that usual, my arrival to work was cutting it close. I was still two minutes early.
“You’re late.” Said Tom as he walked to clock out. He looked like he was trying to get away from me quickly. He had guilt written all over him. “You only have one person left to check in. You just made me late for my plans.” How is a person scheduled to work until 11 at night late for his plans when he is leaving work exactly on time?
“I am not late.” I said as I clocked in for work. I hope he got beat up as a kid. “What is the big hurry about? Will I have any surprises when I start my work?”
“How about you, do yourself a big favor and shave. You look like a Neanderthal.” He said as he hurried for the door. He wants a wedgie. I can easily walk around the desk and grab him before he reaches his car, and pull his shorts over his head. I resisted. I just smiled at him and waved.
“Bye Felecia.” I said. Tom shook his head at me, and hurried through the doors.
The first thing I did was check the occupancy for the night. Sixty rooms sold. Not bad for this time of year. The next thing I checked was the arrivals list. He did say there was only one arrival left. My screen showed fifteen expected arrivals. I started to understand why Tom was in such a hurry to get away from me. How could there only be one arrival left if the computer says there were fifteen? I had to do some digging. What I expected to be a kids hockey team turned out to be a wedding party. No big deal there. Fourteen of my fifteen arrivals were with the wedding group. Each reservation was in each individuals name, which is helpful for me when it comes to knowing who belongs to those rooms. Often people reserve the rooms with the bride and grooms names, and we have to add the correct name when they arrive. The question was still, who is here and who isn’t? It is not likely that the person scheduled at the desk this morning would have skipped printing all of those folios, and preparing the room keys. She is a very responsible person, and she hates when things are not done properly. I went right to the in-house guests bucket. In that bucket I checked each folder and compared it to the list that I printed showing all guests who were checked in. I marked off every room that matched the information in my print out. When I reached the third floor rooms, I found folios in rooms that were not on my paper. Comparing those folios with the expected arrivals list on my screen, I was able to determine that Tom had given the whole wedding party their room keys, and had each person fill out the papers when they arrived, but he never checked anyone into the system. As far as the computer was concerned, those guests were not at the hotel. The easiest way for me to handle that was just to check them in. I went through each name that had a matching folio, and I started checking them in. Most of the reservations went through just fine. One reservation did have an issue. The credit card declined. I hate you Tom. That was a big issue for me. I had a situation where there was a person currently allowed into a room that I was unable to charge for the room. I cannot do an audit if the credit card declined. My only two options were to call the room and request that the guest walk down to my desk, and give me a valid card, or cancel the reservation. That guest should not have been given a room key without first getting a valid card. I was not happy with what I had to do. I had no choice but to call him. The phone rang, but nobody answered. I hate Tom so much. I decided to knock on the door. I walked to the third floor and knocked very loudly on his door. If he was in that room, there was no way he didn’t hear my almost violent pounding. Still, nobody responded. I stood there for a moment. I decided to open the door. I assumed the room was empty and if nobody was responding to the way I rattled that door, then either there was nobody in the room, or there was someone needing medical attention. Using my key, I slowly opened the door. The lights were on. There was nobody in the bed, and there was luggage on the floor. The bathroom was open and empty. At that point I had a person occupying a room that they were not paying for, and I had to remedy the situation before 3a.m.
The only way that I could think of to get this person to talk to me was to cancel his room key. I did exactly that. When the man returned, he would attempt to enter his room, but the key will not work. He will be forced to approach me at the desk to ask for a new key. That is when I would be able to confront him about his credit card.
My one actual expected arrival showed up. He was in his early 20’s. The kid gave me his name, but that name was not on my list. I told him I didn’t see him there. He then named the guy actually on the reservation. At least he knew the guy. I opened the reservation and it had a note attached telling me to expect this guy along with the name on the reservation.
“I just need your identification, and a credit card before I can check you in.” I told him. He got nervous and fidgety.
“Don’t you already have a credit card on the reservation?” He asked with strong concern.
“I do have a card on file, but I still have to ask for one. It’s for incidentals.” I told him. It was clear that the person who made the reservation was not planning on staying. He had a local address. He made the reservation to give his friend a place to stay for the night. “Your friend made this reservation in his name, but it was made for you. Am I correct?”
“Yes.” He told me. “Last time I came here all I had to do was give my name and you guys let me in.” He said.
“I cannot say whether that is the case. I am sure it is, but the thing is, if you are the one staying in the room, then I need to ask you for identification, and a credit card for incidentals so I can add that information to the reservation.” I informed him. His nervousness increased. I didn’t think he was up to no good. He clearly was nervous that he was not going to be able to get into his room.
“I don’t have a credit card though.” He said with growing concern. I decided to run the card on file. If it was accepted, then I would just keep the card on file for incidentals.
“Okay, I am going to cut you some slack and use your friends card, but remember, if any damage is found in that room we will bill him for it.” I looked him in the eye to show I was serious.
“Okay, thank you.” He said with some relief.
“I still need to see identification.” When I said that to him, he started pacing in front of the desk.
“I don’t have that with me either.” He said, looking at me with hope in his eyes that I would let this slide. “Like I said, last time I just had to give my name and I was allowed in my room.”
“Listen to me.” I got serious with him. “This is standard for all hotels. We need to take credit cards so we can bill people for any room damage or violation of the no smoking policy. We need to see your identification so that we can verify that you are the person who belongs in the room.”
“But last time…” I cut him off.
“Last time, the person who checked you in did not do their job. I cannot let you in the room if you are unable to show me who you are.” I said to him while searching the history of the person on the reservation. From that search I could see similarities between a past reservation, and this one. Based on that information, there was a chance this kid was telling the truth. His name was also attached to the last reservation that his friend made, and his story about how he checked in last time seemed to line up with the way this past reservation looked. I decided to let him in.
“I can show you my Facebook profile to prove to you who I am.” He said as he pulled out his smart-phone. Is this a new thing? Kids are using Facebook to identify themselves? Will that work in a bank?
“Listen, I am going to let you in the room. Don’t make me regret my decision.” I said firmly.
“I promise there won’t be any issues. We just need a place to sleep and we will be on the road to Buffalo early.” He said with returning relief.
“Who’s we?” I asked with a scowl on my face. The kid went right back to being concerned again. I was enjoying it. I started printing his paperwork, and made him a room key.
“It’s just me and my friend. We got two beds right?” He replied. I did see two beds on the reservation. His other friend walked in with bags.
“It only shows one bed. We are all out of cots. You two are going to have to share a bed.” The two of them looked at each other in shock. “I’m just kidding.” We all had a good chuckle. I had the kid fill out the paperwork, and sent them away.
It came time for me to do my audit. The man I was looking for never arrived, and because his card was declined, I had no choice but to cancel the reservation. The computer will not let me complete an audit without doing that first. I went ahead and canceled the reservation while leaving a note explaining a bit about the issue. When I finished the audit I included more details about the room issue in an email to both of the hotel managers.
After I finished with all of my work. The man showed up, and complained that he could not get into his room. I explained the issue with the credit card to him, and apologized to him for the inconvenience. He didn’t have a different card to offer me, and he could not give me cash. The room was already canceled. Since this was all Toms fault, and the man was already using the room; I would be a pretty big asshole if I kicked the guy out. I just didn’t see a point in making that guy suffer for Toms stupidity. I made him a fresh key, and just let him back in. I cannot in any way take money for the room. The hotel will just have to take a hit for it. I think Tom should get charged for the room. Either way, it would be unfair to give a person access to a room, and then kick them out because the person responsible when they checked in, failed to take a reliable form of payment. Enjoy that free room.