Some days, I really really like my job.I came in tonight to a lobby full of people. This is one of my biggest pet peeves in my entire line of work. It irritates me. I don’t know why.
But I when I say a lobby full of people, I mean a lobby full of people. At least 30.
Granted, our lobby space is pretty open, so it wasn’t that crowded, but it was loud. The whole group was having an “afterparty” of sorts that had carried over from a wedding reception earlier in the night at a different location. Everyone was having a good time, talking and drinking. The hosts of the get-together had assembled a bar on our breakfast island: beer, coolers, mixers, bottles of whiskey and vodka, and shot bottles of Fireball. There was a stack of pizza boxes on another counter. Cups and bottles everywhere.
This is going to be a good night, I thought, sarcastically.
But let’s back up to yesterday.
Yesterday I came in and there was another group of people in my lobby, so my AGM hadn’t put out some of the breakfast stuff, for which he apologized. He then immediately informed me that he’d already had to call a room for a noise complaint, and told me they were part of a wedding party we had in-house for the weekend. He said, “If you hear anything about them again, just let them know that you’ll be calling the cops next time you hear anything.” That’s standard procedure. I made a note of it to inform our night watchman so he could keep an ear out on his rounds. I looked up the room just to check the name on the reservation. Let’s call the guy Steve.
I go about my business, taking down in-house numbers, departures, and arrivals, addressing room discrepancies, checking maintenance logs, and filling out paperwork for registration cards for the next day’s incomings. Around 11:30 or so, I start getting the last of my breakfast setup done, so I don’t have to think about it later, and I hear a, “Hello!” from across the lobby.
A man is walking over to me from the desk area, “I didn’t see anyone at the desk. Are you the only one here?”
“Right now, yes. What can I do for you?”
“Well, I was just wondering if I could get a couple extra pillows.”
So I get the keys and start toward the first maids’ closet. No luck. The man has walked with me and is asking a few other questions. “What time did you get here?”
“I came in at eleven today, so I’ll be here all night.” (I usually get that question, so I nipped it in the bud.)
“Ah. I thought I should let you know, we’re in the problem room.” Everything he’s said so far he’s said very politely, not sarcastic or ill-spirited in the least.
“Oh, are you?” I laugh. “You must be Steve.”
“I am.” He laughs now, too.
“Y’know, I think that I gave you guys a tour here back in April or May when you were looking for rooms to block for this wedding.” Actually, I know I am. Steve and his wife had been staying and their son and his fiancee came up to check out some venues and hotels. They asked to see a few rooms while I was on shift with the hotel manager, and he let me go and show them a few different room types. I very distinctly remember Steve asking me partway through the tour if I was a manager, to which I had to laugh and say no. He responded by telling me I was doing a very great job.
“I think you’re right.” Steve says, then. “You’re the reason we booked these rooms up here.”
“Well I’m glad you made it up.”
“Yeah, our son is getting married tomorrow.”
“I heard. Congratulations.”
We arrive at the second closet, where I find pillows. Steve holds the door open so he can continue talking to me. I try to put on fresh pillowcases, to which Steve refuses. “I can do that, don’t worry about it.”
“Are you sure?” Sometimes people will at least accept help.
“Yeah, yeah. It’s no big deal.”
“Alright. Anything else I can get you while I’m in here?”
He declines. We walk back on down the hallway. “Yeah, we drove in from Jersey today. Only a three or four hour drive, but it was a good stretch, y’know. We had some family up in our room earlier, and I guess we lost track of how loud we were getting, so I wanted to ask you, would it be alright if we got together and had some cocktails and stuff in the lobby tomorrow night after the wedding? The reception is over at about eight, so around nine or so.”
“Sure, absolutely.” All of our guests are welcome to use our lobby for gatherings, though it doesn’t happen as often as you’d think.
“That would be great. That way we’re not making so much noise up in the rooms, y’know. Even if we get a little loud, it would be less disturbing to the other guests, wouldn’t it?”
“Yeah, the lobby kind of soaks up sound, so it doesn’t travel far.”
“And you’re sure that’s okay?” I reaffirm this. Steve says he’d better get back to his room. “And what’s your name again, I’m sorry.”
“Lyndsay. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, Steve. Have a good night.”
Steve returns to his room and I return to my desk. The night continues on smoothly.
Now back to today. The group of people in my lobby begins to disperse. The last few are packing up boxes with what’s left of their bar, and they load up a luggage cart to take it back upstairs.
“Miss Lyndsay,” Steve says to me as he walks across the lobby.
“We’re pretty much cleaned up over here, is there anything you want us to do?”
“Nope. You can leave everything right where it is and I’ll take care of it.”
“What about like our pizza boxes? Is there somewhere we can throw them out?”
“We recycle our cardboard, so just leave them and I’ll break them down.”
“Are you sure there’s nothing else we can do?”
“No. I’m just glad you all had a good time.”
Steve takes the booze upstairs and I begin rearranging the furniture from where they’d had it pushed together to talk. Everything is back in its place and all my pillows are fluffed when Steve comes back.
“Do you still have a lot of cleaning up to do, Lyndsay?”
“Oh, no. I’m just going to wipe down tables, and I ususally do that anyway.” A white lie. I don’t usually, but it’s not a difficult or demanding task.
Steve accepts this answer. “You’re here all night, right?”
“Until seven, yep. You guys are heading out in the morning?”
“We are. Maybe I’ll see you when I come down for coffee or something before you leave.”
“Sounds good. Have a good night, Steve.”
“Thank you. You, too.”
So I wiped down the tables and countertops, put out my breakfast assembly, broke down pizza boxes, and ended up with a lobby that looked like no one had set foot in it all day. It was nice.
The point of the story is this: People like Steve are my favorite type of guests. Rather than acting like they’re paying to be here, and somehow that affords them the right to demand and use and make life miserable for every employee in the building, he acted like a house guest, made every request as politely as possible, wanted to make my job as easy as possible by taking care of his own and cleaning up after himself, and said thank you more than anyone else I have ever dealt with. I think everyone should strive to be this way, not just with hotel personnel, but with everyone they do business with. Steve is wonderful.
Steve is one of those guests who make me wish I could afford to give thank-you gifts, or had the authority to comp a bottle of wine or a meal or something.
Steve is one of the guests who make dealing with shit like coffee in my toasters and screaming in my hallways completely worthwhile.
Thank you, Steve.