Many of you are aware I work in the hotel industry, as a General Manager. I have been in this position for the past 23 years, and through my daily work life, I get to encounter some extra special people for various reasons. Some truly are extra special, and sweet, but most are extra aggravating, and unbelievable. This page of my blog is dedicated to the truly "charming" guests I encounter, and the scenarios of what occurred. My own personal "the people of Walmart" page if you will. I have been encouraged over the years to write it all down, as many say my stories from the Front Desk are entertaining, and I could write a book. Well, here you go....
I think it is important to note the location of my property, but not name , names. If you know, well, then you know. My property is a major chain brand located outside of Atlantic City, NJ. The land of free everything from alcohol to money if you are lucky. We even have free beaches, and a lot of great shows. My property is beautiful, and my associates really do care. But we see all kinds of people as most do when serving the public. Some are there to celebrate a wedding, or see a show. Some have lost a loved one, and seek comfort. Most are wishing to let it all hang out on a weekend, and double their money before returning home. The last I mentioned give us extra challenges which we try to meet. Sometimes, this is just not possible. I hope by reading these little stories you will be entertained, and a more educated traveler, and will take mercy on the next hotel associate that you encounter, because we really do work hard to make you comfortable.
Not all of my stories come from my current location, as I have managed properties all across the country. I have to say that most of my best stories did take place in Atlantic City. I will try and remain factual, and replace the names where applicable.
For our first Story from the Front Desk we must go back several years to when I was a green horn.
Location: Hatteras Inn, Atlantic City , NJ- the site of this hotel is now where Resorts International now has a parking garage.
Year: Approximately 1989
So I was about 23 years old, and had gotten my very first General Manager's job of a 75 room former half way house for the State of NJ. We had totally renovated it, and it was a little doll house. Local art on the walls, you could get continental breakfast of a huge muffin and coffee all home baked, a coin bonus and your room for $30 plus tax. What can I say, it was a different time. When you answered the phone on occasion it was a prison inmate, but by and large, it was a nice place. I think I made $350/week salary and was on call 24/7.
Out front of the hotel we had a little parking apron, where 3 cars could fit. You would check in, and then move your car across the street to a parking garage where we paid your parking. Those yahoos would drop the gate at will, and often times we had to pay for parking for our guests next door at Resorts Casino, when it was $2, and Merv owned it. Next door, was an old hotel that was all boarded up, but was owned by the same folks that owned my place. It was two hotels actually, once called the World and the Lafayette. The Beatles had stayed there, once upon a time. It had a teak ballroom floor, and every kind of room imaginable. Single rooms for say a bus driver, that were the size of a small closet, to palatial suites that dignitaries and the Beatles once occupied. The building was boarded up, as it had undergone a fire years before. So, no power ran to the building any longer. I was the on site contact for the ownership, so I had keys to the locks on the building Across the street, was the Burgundy Motor Inn. It is still there. They were a little bigger than we were at the Hatteras, and their front desk faced the front door of the old Lafayette's port-o-cochere., with the street between.
So you get the picture. It is July 4 th weekend, we are jumping busy at the shore, and I am trying to sort out the parking problems with the hi rise, as they have once again dropped the gate, and I have 10 cars trying squeeze onto our apron.
The phone rings, it is the desk agent from the Burgundy.
She says : Laurel, you need to come over here right now.
Me: Have you looked at my front entrance? I am having some issues at the moment.
Burgundy: Believe me this can't wait.
Me: I'll be right there.
Once I arrive, the Front desk agent takes me out front to her parking apron, and directs my attention to the roof of the port-o-cochere of the old Lafayette. I see, much to my surprise, a completely naked, approximately 30 year old Asian man , dancing around on the roof.
I wave. He waves back, and continues dancing, with all his "business" flapping in the wind.
I am in disbelief, I say thank you to the Guest agent, and head back to Hatteras Inn next door. When I arrive there, I call the Atlantic City Police Department, and tell them of the squatter situation. I ask them to bring a K-9 dog, as I know the darkened Lafayette is a labyrinth of hallways, and stairwells, and there is no elevator, as there is no electric.
Police: Well, we could try and send someone out, but it will be a few hours.
Me: Well that is fine, but if this guy drops his crack pipe and incinerates the building, I'll be sure to advise my owners that I contacted the city, and they will be sure to sue you.
Police: We'll see you in 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, I still have chaos of no parking available on a holiday weekend, so I went off to scream at the parking lot guy. Which worked, because I fixed the parking situation in about 30 seconds, and managed to elevate my blood pressure.
Police arrive in 20 minutes, and they have brought the K-9 and some SWAT outfitted guys that are all about 7 feet tall. They also have a lot of bike cops and motorcycle cops in my district, and they all had to roll up to see what was happening. I remember vividly, the K-9 cop had on jodphers and knee high boots and was shaped like a weebil. You remember those toys? Weebils wobble but they don't fall down? That was this guy.
I unlock the Lafayette, and SWAT goes in with my crudely drawn plot map of how to access the roof of the portico. Asian guy is popping in and out of windows, naked as the day he was born. We now have the entire street blocked off.
About 30 minutes later, a lot of sweaty cops come out, the dog comes out foaming at the mouth, and is put back in his air conditioned cop car, and begins pacing up and down the back street, like he is dying to bite something. Weebil comes to talk to me.
Weebil: Um, well we had a little trouble accessing the roof entrance.
Me: I see that
Weebil: So, um whatcha we gonna do is ask you little lady to give us a call in a few hours, because the dog is tired, ya know he worked the 4-12 last night. If you call back at 4pm you know you could get a fresh dog, and maybe you would have better luck.
Me: Are you kidding me?
Dog is frantically pacing like Cujo in the back of patrol car, and foaming at the mouth, as if he wants to eat Weebil.
Me: The dog is tired? Really? That is what you are telling me? Ok, but be ready for the lawsuit. and be ready for my call at 4pm. ( Imagine steam coming out of my ears,and I am extremely red faced.)
The cops pack up, and retreat with their literal tail between their legs, the Asian naked guy is still popping in and out of windows waving at me. I go back in the Hatteras and call my mentor, a great guy who runs the hotel where I came from, about 5 blocks away. His name is Jeff, and he has since passed away. I miss him a lot, he was fantastic, and had a scamp of a sense of humor. He loved practical jokes.
Jeff: What's Up girl?
Me: I tell him the entire scenario, and end with the cop telling me " The dog is tired , he worked the 4-12 last night"
Jeff: Hysterical Laughter, and crying... I gotta go.....
He hangs up on me.
So, I wait until 4pm, I call the cops back. They come out with a fresh dog. They once again enter the building trying to find the naked jaybird. No luck. A new cop comes to talk to me and lays out the problem. He suggests I act as their tour guide, and lead them to the nest, as I know the building
I agree. then I find out it entails a waiver, and a bullet proof vest.
I sign the waiver, get suited up, and get in the middle of 4 huge cops carrying assault rifles being led by a fresh dog. We are inching through the building, as if our feet are tied together, with me yelling, "Turn left, go up the stairs, Turn right."
All of a sudden the dog starts going nuts with barking and growling... and 4 cops leave me in the hallway and start screaming "Put your hands in the air, get on the ground!" We have found the lair of multiple squatters, with cook burners, cooking their dope, and shedding their clothes. The dog has naked Asian Guy by the ankle, and is ferociously growling.
All told, there were 4 squatters, all high as kites, who were living in the building next door. We prosecuted all for trespass, and that is how I became a SWAT team member for a day.
I sure hope the dog has rested up .
Thanks for reading....