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  • My sister-in-law works part-time as a hotel desk clerk. I did that, too, about 20 years ago. We were reminiscing about some of the crazy moments that come with the job. The job itself has changed very little in the past twenty years; neither have the antics of the people checking in. Some of them are crazy.

    She works at a hotel in downtown Dayton, Ohio. There have been many prostitutes and drug dealers at her hotel. There were at mine, too, all those years ago at a hotel near Kings Island Amusement Park. She's related stories of that action, but here's my own favorite: one drug dealer left $3000 cash under his bedside lamp. The police found it. He never got it back.

    One guest at the Dayton hotel started lowering his hotel room's furniture out the window. Hotel clerks are usually warned every year when Gypsies are in the area to be alert that this might happen. And finally, it really did!

    I had a guy come into the hotel one night asking for a room. We were sold out, but he was frantic. He told me he'd taken a lot of crank and needed to crash. For about 10 minutes, I was afraid he was going to crash right there on the floor in front of me. I didn't have Security that night. It was a little scary, but he finally left.

    Another night I had an irate man who argued and argued with me that I surely had one room available. This happened a lot. People went to Kings Island but didn't make a hotel reservation and then were shocked when the nearest hotel with rooms available was 50 miles away. Desk clerks know; they routinely call all the other hotels that night to check availability. We are trained in customer service, after all. But this man refused to believe me. He snidely asked me what I'd do if the President of the United States showed up? I guess I would have told him he should have made a reservation.

    On another night, the fire alarms went off at about 2:00am. All the fire doors shut and all the guests congregated in the front lobby. We can't turn the alarms off. Only the fire department can do that. They came and checked the building, but the alarms continued to ring for about 25 minutes. It was deafening. I made coffee and put out snacks in the breakfast area. All the guests had to evacuate their rooms. Still, in the midst of the blaring sirens, pajama-clad guests, and three fire trucks with lights on outside, a couple came in and asked me if I had any rooms? There was really only one thing I could say: Smoking or non-smoking?
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