It started like any normal day shift…checking guests out…wishing them a good day…contorting my face into a semi-genuine smile…nice and calm.
Then she arrives…woman in her mid 40’s…disheveled hair…clothes with the slept-in look…and a wild look in her eye.
At first she says nothing. She looks at me as if she were watching my eyes for clues that I might be reptilian. Then she says…“I know they put you up to it.”
(Oh fuck me…there is no way this isn’t ending badly.)
Excuse me ma’am?
“How could you do this to me?” she asks.
I’m not sure what you mean ma’am. How can I help you?
“I WANT A REFUND RIGHT NOW OR I’M SUING YOU AND HAVING YOUR WHOLE STAFF THROWN IN JAIL!”
Me: … Ummm Well maybe if you tell me wha…
“LOOK AT THIS!” She holds out her finger.
On her fingernail there appear to be a wax shaving.
Me: What is it ma’am?
“THIS IS EVIDENCE OF THE CRIME.” “I was taking a shower and found this on the bottom of my soap dish. It is UNCLEAN. It has germs of some other guest! Probably another man! His skin cells are in this!!!
(She is fluctuating between fury and crying at this time)
She goes on… Part of his body is in this! Don’t you understand? What’s wrong with you?! I was in there naked!! His skin cells were TOUCHING my naked flesh!!! It is like I was raped!
(So at this point I’ve concluded that clearly she is mentally unstable and I’m working on what response is best…)
Then she proclaims in a near scream…"I’M CALLING THE POLICE FOR THIS RAPE!”
All the other guests who have just come down to check out are looking on at me in horror.
(I’m thinking…this job doesn’t pay enough.)
“Well ma’am…I can certainly understand that the shower cleanliness issue would be upsetting…I’d feel the same way. I’d be happy to have our manager speak with you personally if you wouldn’t mind having a seat briefly in the lobby.”
“NO! I DON’T WANT TO SIT ANYWHERE IN THIS FILTHY PLACE…I’M CALLING THE POLICE!!”
(So…at this point…evil me whispers in my ear…wouldn’t it be hilarious to see the guys in white jackets drag her out of the lobby in a straight jacket?…I tried not to listen, but after 3 seconds of my maximum resistance…I thought…fuck it…let’s push her over the edge.)
Me: “That sounds like an excellent idea ma’am. Call them.”
She was visibly taken aback by my response…paused…then said in a lower tone…“No…your trying to trick me. They are in on it, aren’t they? Just give me the refund!”
(At this point I’m thinking…I know I’m fired so why not just say whatever the hell I want…right?“)
Evil Me: "Oh ma’am…how could I? No…I must insist we call the police if you feel that our shower raped you. We have to consider the safety of our other guests. We can’t let the shower get away with that! I must insist on calling the police.”
Her face turns slightly pale then she says…Nevermind…I’m leaving!!
Evil Me: “Oh but ma’am…are you sure? I’d be happy to call them for you….”
She vanishes around the corner…silence.
I then turn my best customer smiling face to the next guest and ask…as if none of that just happened…“How was your stay?”
Wonderful sir…you are all set. Have a great morning!“
The rest of the guests checked out with a shocked semi-silent look of WTF just happened.
And then the lobby was back to blissful calmness again. Just me and the mind-numbing elevator music in the lobby.
POST SCRIPT: The managers and owner watched the security video over and over laughing hysterically at the lengths I’d go to in order to avoid giving a refund. Not only did I not get fired, they gave me employee of the year. It was a shitty little 6 inch trophy and a meaningless certificate, but it came with a $50 Walmart gift certificate…so not too bad, I guess 😀