I was raised in the hospitality industry. My dad buys old hotels/motels and fixes them up then sells them again. During the fix up process he keeps them operating like normal hotels. As his oldest child it was usually my responsibility to help keep things running. So I thought I’d share some of my favorite tales.
This one takes place after I decided to stretch my wings and work for a hotel not owned by my family. I was alternating between 2nd and 3rd shift at this hotel. Now at the time I had my hair dyed a ridiculously bright red, like fire truck red and while my boss had been hesitant to let me keep it I never got anything from compliments from guests.
This particular hotel was located near a hospital and offered a discount and shuttle service for people with relatives at the hospital. During one of my 2nd shifts this older man comes to check in. He’s staying for a week with the hospital rate and looks very distressed. His english isn’t great but he does his best. Several times during the process he mentions how much he likes my hair. He also got very talkative about why he was staying there, since it was a slow night I indulged him. Turns out that his wife had been flown to our hospital from Puerto Rico. After he checked in he went to the hospital to check on his wife and stayed there for a while. I was still on shift when he returned and he asked me where he could get some food. I gave him a list of restaurants that delivered to us. He asked which was my favorite and what I liked to eat there then wandered off to make his call then lingered around the lobby waiting for the delivery. When the delivery showed up he brought his food to the desk and set a box in front of me. He told me that he hadn’t eaten dinner alone in 50 years and he wasn’t ready to start. He had ordered the food that I told him was my favorite and was hoping that I’d be able to eat with him. Since my relief had showed up already I clocked out early and sat in the breakfast room with the guest to eat our food. Every night after that was the same thing. He’d come home from the hospital and ask me to order food for him so he’d get the front desk discount and I’d order my own food or warm up whatever I brought. His wife wasn’t doing good and he ended up having to stay with us for almost two months. We had dinner together every night (I lived two blocks away and would come in on my days off).
The guy was really nice and really lonely. His wife wasn’t doing good and none of his kids were able to get to the US. He called me Red even after I’d changed my hair and would tell me all about his life in Puerto Rico and his kids. After a life time of shitty guests it was a really great experience. His wife ended up passing away in the hospital and he made sure to wait for me to come into work to leave and thanked me for the dinners and let me know that I’d made a hard time a little bit better.