I was reminded of this story today, when I got a request in our short term rental business for someone who wanted us to slash our rate for that week in half for him. He thought saying “I’m a teacher and I’ll take good care of your house” would mean something. To begin with, I have no way of telling if that’s true or not. It still costs us the same to pay a cleaning crew to clean the home after your stay, especially for what they have to do in this time of COVID. Finally, one of the worst experiences I ever had when I worked night audit at a local hotel involved a cop and a teacher who were chaperoning a sports group.
For anyone who doesn’t know, sports teams are the bane of a hotel worker’s existence. For the most part, they are disruptive and noisy and inconsiderate of other guests. They are a necessary evil in terms of revenue, but many times we ended up giving away rooms for free to other guests staying there the same night. At the hotel, there was a breakfast common area with couches and tables and chairs where people could gather and watch television. In general, I preferred people use this area to “hang out” rather than their rooms because there was less likely to be a noise complaint.
This group was a hockey group. I had kids running up and down the halls at 11PM at night and the parents ignoring them. They were playing hockey in the stairwells while the parents were watching TV and getting drunk in the common area. Since we did not have a liquor license, this was illegal, but we generally turned a blind eye to it unless the situation got out of hand. This was one of those times. I was getting complaints from all over the place in the hotel about the noise. I had asked them several times already to keep it down, and it would quiet down for a few minutes, then the volume would be right back up again, so I told them they would have to shut everything down and go to bed.
The chaperones introduced themselves to me when I went back to the desk and they wanted to smooth things over so they could continue partying. One was a high school teacher and one was a detective from the southern part of the state. They wanted that to have bearing on me, like I had to allow them to continue partying because of who they were. I told them no. We were in “quiet time” and since I was getting noise complaints they had worn out their welcome. They tried to say I couldn’t “make them” go to their rooms. I said yes, I could. The hotel needed to be quiet and they needed to return to their rooms.
I don’t remember how it ratcheted up to the level it got to. My memory thinks they just kept partying in the common area and refused to go back to their rooms, even after I shut off all of the lights there. I called the police to come and deal with them. I had every intention of throwing the whole group out of the hotel.
When the police arrived, they heard the noise level, now at around 11:30 at night. I told them they needed to tell them they had two choices – to go to their rooms and go to bed or to leave the hotel. Since they were all drunk, that would have proved interesting. Of course when they went over, the detective pulled out his “I am a cop” card. After they talked for a while, the local police came over and said they’d agreed to go to bed and I shouldn’t have any more trouble from them. This was despite the fact that they flagrantly had alcohol out in a public setting where it wasn’t allowed. I’ve seen the local police arrest people for that on numerous occasions.
About fifteen minutes after they left, I’d already cleaned up the area and straightened out all of the tables so it was ready for breakfast in the morning. The detective came back down and sat at one of the tables with several bottles of beer, just staring at me. I don’t know whether his intention was just to be an asshole trying to show me I couldn’t make him do something, or if he was trying to threaten me. I just ignored him and went on about my work while he sat there and stared at me and drank. This went on for about an hour, then he disappeared, I assume back to his room.
The group, naturally, didn’t get up before I left the next morning.
About a week after this, my general manager got a letter from the “teacher” on his school’s letterhead lodging a complaint against me. My general manager called the school to discuss this teacher’s behavior at the hotel. The teacher then got very upset and lodged a complaint against my manager, saying he had no right to call his employer since the sports group he was with wasn’t representing the school. Why, then, did he send a complaint on the school’s letterhead rather than as a private citizen? In the end, nothing much came of it.
I do not automatically think that a person who is a police officer or a teacher deserves special consideration. The level of respect I will have for them depends on their actions just like every other human on this planet. I thank the good ones for all that they do. I’ve had enough experience to know that not every one deserves to be venerated.