The snow made work, a workout. I arrived at 11 o’clock, and there was barely a dusting, on the sidewalk. By midnight, the snow was almost up to my ankles, so I shoveled every sidewalk, and exit. As soon as I finished the first round of snow removal, the phone rang. It was a woman saying she was at the airport, and she, and her family were ready for their shuttle pickup. I went through my entire list at the beginning of my shift, which includes checking our airport shuttles. There was nothing in the shuttle log. “Are you sure this is the location you are looking for?” I asked.
“Yes.” She said. “We stayed there last week. We are doing your park-and-go, service. I called at eight, and talked to the girl. I told her our flight was delayed, and we wouldn’t be available to pick-up, until after ten. She told me she would make a note of it.”
I looked for a room history. The woman on the phone did have a reservation last week, and it appears she has stayed several times in the past. She was most likely not calling the wrong hotel. Of course, I was listening to her scolding me for not having the shuttle there already. I don’t know why, but I think I remember the woman, and her family. I remember wishing them a safe, and happy trip. They were going to Disney World. “I am sorry for this inconvenience. I do see your history, and it does show me that you were here last week. Unfortunately I cannot get the shuttle driver here, in this weather. There is a taxi company at the airport. You can take a taxi here, and I will make sure to pay for the ride.”
“The girl I spoke to said the shuttle would be ready for us!”
“I’m sorry about this, but I don’t have any record of that. If you spoke to my co-worker, she never mentioned it to me, and she never wrote anything down. I understand this is frustrating, but I am just as blindsided by this as you are. All I can do is pay for your taxi.”
“Well, how long is this going to take?”
“I will call for a taxi, right now.”
“I expect you to reduce our rate for the whole thing. This is unacceptable.” I heard a man talking to her. “Give me the phone!” He said. “Hello? Who am I speaking to?”
“Michael, we have a park and go reservation there, and we called at 8 o’clock to make sure our shuttle would be here. Now where the hell is it?”
“Let me check your reservation again. In the meantime, I will contact the taxi company for you. They are very nice people, and very reliable in these situations. If I can get a phone number from you, I can make sure the driver is able to contact you when she arrives.” He gave me the number.
“Make this quick!”
“It will be as quick as I can make it. I do need to remind you there is a very bad snow storm going on right now. Travel will take some time.”
I disconnected the call after politely saying goodbye. I called the cab company that I consider very reliable. The lady who answered has a very thick Indian accent, and very willing to remind me that I have difficulty understanding her. “Hello, Michael… I am speaking very slowly, just for you.”
“You are such a sweetheart. I am sorry to bother you, considering the weather, but I have someone at the airport who needs a ride back to the hotel, and I have no shuttle driver here. Will you please, please, pretty-please, pick her, and her family up, and bring them to the hotel? Please?”
“They are at the airport right now, and want a ride? Did they not arrange this with you?”
“According to my records, nope! Please please, please, please.”
“Okay, okay, okay… Give me their number, and tell them I will be fifteen or twenty minutes.”
“You are my favoritest person in the entire world!”
I called the lady back, and told her to expect the taxi. She wasn’t fond of having to wait. I wasn’t fond of having a an ambush shuttle call. When that part was taken care of, I checked into the reservation to see if I could figure out where things went wrong. Originally, all I did was see if the lady had a history with the hotel, since she did, and also, since she was being so nasty to me over the phone, I didn’t look at the reservation with much detail. I was more interested in getting the problem out-of-the-way.
As soon as I had the most recent reservation opened, I could see what the issue was. She rented a room through Expedia. We don’t have a park, and go rate, that I am aware of, through Expedia. Our park and go rate would be around $124.00 for one night in a room, and parking while you go away to wherever it is a person is going. This reservation was just a standard reservation at a rate of $76.00. There is no way that is a park and go rate.
The taxi arrived, and the driver came in so I could pay her. “Those people are very mad at you.” She said.
“They can kiss my ass.” I said. She giggled. “They gave me hell for not having a shuttle for their park and go reservation, and they rented their room on Expedia. That is not a park and go reservation. That is renting the cheapest room you can find on Expedia, and abandoning their car in our parking lot. They are lucky nobody caught on to it, and it wasn’t towed.”
“Maybe you should tell them when they make the reservation.”
“If they go online to reserve a room, then there is no way for us to know they plan to leave their car here. I have to look deeper into this issue. I am confident there is no park and go rate through Expedia.”
“Good luck.” She said, then left. Moments later, the people with the shuttle issue parked next to the doors, came inside, and started yelling at me as soon as the doors opened.
“How do you plan on making this right?” Said the woman. Her husband stood by her side, looking like he was ready to kick my ass.
“I looked at the last reservation you made with us. You made your reservation on Expedia.”
“So?” Said the husband. He leaned in, so I leaned closer to him.
“So, our park and go reservations have to be made through us. You can’t get that deal on Expedia.”
“We got a shuttle to the airport when we left!” Shouted the wife.
“I know. I was the one who wished you a safe, and happy trip. We had a shuttle for you, because you arranged for one, but you didn’t arrange for one for your return, and you never made the correct arrangements with us. You’re lucky your car didn’t get towed.”
“We stay here all the time, and we always leave our car, and we always have the shuttle.” Said the wife.
Why are people who bend the rules, always the most nasty towards me when their attempt to get something for free backfires on them?
“I can’t answer that. I don’t know what you arranged in the past. I can only comment on the current situation. And when you stayed here last week, you rented a room on Expedia. You didn’t make a park and go reservation, and that is why there was no shuttle for you when you returned to the airport.” The husband took a deep breath to calm himself, because obviously, I was being difficult, and none of this was their fault.
“We called at 8 o’clock, and the girl told me she would make a note of it, when we said we would need the shuttle, tonight.”
“I don’t know anything about that. I can’t tell you why she never left me a note, or why she told you she would do something, and then not do it. I will look into that. If I had to guess, she probably looked at your reservation, saw it was not a park and go, and chose not to do anything about it. I can only tell you that you made your last reservation on Expedia, and you can’t get the park and go deal on their site. You can only do it through our site, or directly through a desk attendant, here, not on Expedia.”
“We expect to get reimbursed for this.” Said the wife.
“I can’t do anything about that. Third party reservations are not refundable. Also, you never made the proper arrangements for leaving your car in our parking lot. As far as I’m concerned, you rented the cheapest room you could get through Expedia, and then abandoned your car here, with the expectation that nothing would go wrong.”
“I want to get paid back for the cab.” The husband insisted.
“I paid the driver, you never paid for that taxi.”
“I gave her a tip.” He said.
“I sure hope it was at least twenty dollars. That lady had to drive through dangerous weather to pick you up, and she could have refused.”
“Are you going to pay it back, or what?”
“What? Excuse me?” He yelled.
“We don’t pay the tip, that is your responsibility, and I am assuming you never got a receipt, how do you expect me to show what I would be taking money out of the drawer for, if I can’t show a receipt for what I am reimbursing you for?” They didn’t have a quick reply for that one. “Based on the information from your last reservation, you rented a room with Expedia, and I’m sure that was more economical for you, and quite frankly, I don’t blame you for going that route, but you absolutely did not have a park and go package arranged with us, and we are not responsible for your transportation. I paid for your taxi, and I had the right to refuse to do so. Please make the correct arrangements, next time. It will save everyone from having to deal with this hassle again. Now, if you don’t mind, I have to shovel the walkways again; for the fifth time since I clocked in.”
I waited, with my arms folded, for them to walk away, then I put on my coat, and shoveled snow. I shoveled snow every forty-five minutes. It was never-ending. By the time I finished, you would never know I actually shoveled anything. Those people are lucky they didn’t get stranded at the airport.