Google Analytics

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Bad Night in Savannah

It was Valentine's Day weekend, and I think it was probably 1999. We were staying in the Wyndham, a new hotel that had just opened on the river in Savannah, GA.

We took the Wyndham's water taxi across the river to spend an evening at the shops and restaurants that line the river, then returned via that same water taxi. We noted several unusually-drunk men with us on the taxi, one of whom apologized for their language after noting my wife, and explained that they were there for a conference hosted at the Wyndham.

We landed, and proceeded up to our room.

About 2 hours later, sometime after 1:00 AM, I woke up to a loud thud. As I lay there in the darkness, trying to discern whether I had actually heard anything, it came again - it was coming from our entry-door!

I got up and took a look out the tiny peep-hole in the door - nothing but hallway, so I turned to go back to bed, whereupon another loud thud happened. I quickly went back to the peep-hole and saw a blond man, wearing a sports jacket and tie, staggering back from our door. As I watched, he lowered himself into a football lineman's stance, and launched himself full force into our door again! He was trying to break through our door!

My wife, now awake and clearly alarmed, wanted to know what was going on. I informed her and told her to dial the front desk for security to come up and get this mad man.

Meanwhile, I looked around for a weapon, as I didn't know how long that door jamb was going to hold against two hundred and fifty pound launches, that were coming every 30 seconds. I expected the whole door and casing to fail at some point and fall into our room. The only thing I could find was an empty wine bottle.

I yelled at the man to get away from our door. He cursed, yelling at me to 'let me in'. I told him to go to hell, that this was our room.

I stood in the doorway of our bathroom, holding the empty wine bottle by the neck and waited for him to burst into our room, at which point I intended to protect us from someone bent on trying to burst into our room to get to us. If he was crazy enough to keep launching himself into our door, then he was crazy enough to try and kill us, so I didn't intend to take any chances - I was going to hit him with everything I had once he burst through into our room. I stood in the doorway of the bathroom and waited.

This went on for about 10 - 15 minutes! We made three calls to the front desk. We spoke to security - it was a young female that had just been hired, and had no experience, she told us, obviously frightened. I think she may have said she was a college student. She refused to come up! The front desk also refused to call the police!

So we called the Savannah police. They seemed to have a hard time understanding and believing that someone was trying to beat their way into our room, and kept trying to get us to use hotel security, over and over - get the hotel security. But after a while, they reluctantly agreed to send an officer.

After 30 minutes and no police, while this crazy man continued to break his way into our room, we called the police station again - they assured us someone was on their way.

We heard a door next to our room close, and we noted the pounding had stopped. We never saw nor heard the crazy man again; I think his roommate must have been in the room next door must have finally awoken and realized his roommate was trying to get into the wrong room and let the crazy man into his room.

Just minutes later, two police officers showed up, along with the hotel night-shift manager and the security guard. They all wanted to know what was going on, as no one was there trying to beat their way into our room.

The police officer became agitated and angry, and ordered us back into our room, saying it was obvious there wasn't a problem now, and to get back in our room and shut up! They refused to knock on the door of the room next door that I had heard close. That was the end of any support from the police department. It was clear he was pissed with us.

Everybody marched off, leaving us with nothing else to do but to return to our room. While frightened about remaining in the room, we really didn't have any other choice at this hour of the night.

At this point, this episode had gone on for more than an hour, and we were more than wide awake, so it was 4 or 5 AM before we were able to get back to sleep.

The next morning, we went down for breakfast. I sought out the manager, who turned out to be a very young woman. She said she had heard that we had some problems during the night, and offered us, with a big smile, a free breakfast. I told her that wasn't going to be nearly enough to satisfy me, and I left, along with my wife. We went and had breakfast and I charged it to my room.

I had made up my mind I had had enough bad treatment - from the crazy man, the cops, the lack-of-security guard, and the manager. I was going to get in touch with our lawyer.

As we were going back to the elevators to return to our room, a man stepped up to meet us, identifying himself as the hotel's Regional Director, and asked if we were the couple that had the problem with the man attempting to break into our room the night before. We affirmed we were that couple.

He asked us to join him in his office, and we accepted.

He led us into the same manager's office we had been in just 45 minutes earlier. The young female manager was still sitting at her desk doing paperwork where we had left her. The Regional Director informed her that we were the couple that had had the issues the night before, she said she knew that, he made a long pause, and told her we would be using her office, and that she would need to leave - he was ordering her out of her office.

Once she left, he apologized for her handling of our problems, for the lack-of-security's handling, explaining that they had just opened, and still had some issue to resolve, what could he do to make this right for us.

Wow. We went from being outcasts that were causing problems to people that had suffered an attack by a crazy man, all in 2 minutes!

I told him that this trip was my Valentin's gift to my wife, that it had been ruined, and I wanted to know what he could do to make it up to her. I said I wasn't going to stipulate anything - that I "wanted the hotel to knock her socks off", and turn this into a great trip for her. If he could do that, then I would be happy. He was relieved to hear this, and assured me they could do that.

The first thing they did was to move us out of a standard river-side room into a suite at the top level of the hotel - reserved key entry. We had unlimited prepaid access to the restaurants, bars, and room service. Our suite was the biggest I had ever had - roughly the size of a 2 bedroom apartment.

They wheeled in a cart full of flowers, cheese, and wine for us.

Staff would greet us in the hallway by our last names, asking what they could do for us.

I realize I could have done more with this from a legal standpoint if I had sued them, but that's not my style.

My wife said she had a good time, and that is my style.

No comments:

Post a Comment