Front desk employees aren’t exempt from dealing with crazy customers. In fact, some would argue that their customers are the wildest. Guests who consider hotels their home away from home often get too carried away, often leaving hotel employees picking up the pieces. Here, workers relive the moment everything fell apart in the hotel lobby.
All stories are edited for clarity.
“One night I was working the front desk when a sharp-dressed man and woman approached me. After finding the reservation, I retrieved their room key and sent them on their way. I didn’t think much of the interaction, and after four or five more guests checked in, I completely forgot about them.
As the night progressed, I was reading a magazine when I heard the front doors open. I put the magazine away and prepared myself to help another guest check in but was surprised to find two random women storming toward me. One woman had tears in her eyes while the other woman had a look on her face that could kill.
‘Oh, boy’ I thought.
I didn’t recognize the women as guests. The crying woman plopped her bag on the table, scattering papers and brochures everywhere.
‘I need to check in under (says a man’s name),’ the woman announced.
I quickly looked up the name but saw that he had checked in hours ago. Because the last name was unique, I recognized the name belonging to the sharp-dressed man and his date from earlier. Not only that, but he had not given us any other authorized individuals to check in under him. When I explained this to the woman, the other woman immediately started shouting at me in the lobby.
‘TELL US WHAT ROOM NUMBER HE’S IN THEN!’ the woman hollered.
‘The hell you can,’ the irate woman retorted.
I was absolutely floored. ‘I understand your frustration,’ I began. ‘However, if I give out any more information about the guest, I could be in serious trouble.’ I then suggested the woman call the person she was looking for herself to meet her outside.
Seeing that I wasn’t going to budge, the two women left quietly. I watched as their car backed out of the parking lot and sped off. The rest of the night was pretty quiet, but I could not stop thinking about them.
Once it was morning, I waited behind the counter for my relief. Over to the left, I propped open the doors to the dining hall where continental breakfast was being served. One by one, guests started coming out of the elevator to catch a meal. That’s when I spotted the sharp-dressed man and his date from the night before. This time they strolled into the lobby wearing pajamas and Crocs. They walked right past the front desk and into the dining hall. Just the night before, I remember admiring them as a cute couple. Seeing him with the other woman knowing what I did made me a little sad, but I had to move on.
Everything was still pretty normal as I waited for my relief. A few guests started checking out early while others called for room service requests. I got sort of busy with the morning rush, so of course I didn’t notice the two women from the night before sneak in through the front door. They barged into the dining hall and immediately found the man and woman.
That’s when all hell broke loose.
‘So this is what 7 years of marriage means to you?!’ I heard one woman scream.
The unmistakable sound of shattered plates, gasps of unsuspecting guests, and screeches from fighting people lit up the dining hall and carried over to the lobby. I quickly excused myself and ran to the sound of the commotion where I found the two women having a screaming match with the man and woman at the table. The emotional woman from the night before was holding a cell phone to record herself catching her husband with another woman. Meanwhile, the husband was shouting at the woman’s friend who kept trying to assault his mistress. The other guests in the lobby were stunned to silence as everything went down.
I, being a 4’9 female could not do anything to stop what was happening. I had no choice but to call the cops. They were there in about ten minutes and arrested the two women on the spot. I never knew what happened after that, but I still feel bad. I wonder if I could have done something to warn the guy or stop his wife.
“I worked at an extended stay hotel. There were a lot of interesting guests but this lady took the cake. She was a middle-aged woman staying there for an insurance stay because of problems with her home. The number of made-up problems she came up with was mind-boggling.
It started with simple stuff. The woman would hoard the little shampoos and conditioners and started complaining that we were taking them out of her room. To counteract this, we told all the housekeepers to leave them alone. When she no longer had that to complain about, the woman then started whining about wanting a new key card made every day because she was convinced someone had a copy, which made no sense but ok. The woman would march into the lobby and insist that someone ‘deactivate’ her old card.
Now at my hotel, when you create a new card, it automatically deactivated the old one. But the woman did not believe us and wanted to see us put it in the machine to assign it to another room before she left.
I got pretty sick of her after a week. I was never outright mean, but I kept my responses bland, gave her the same answers to her insane questions, and would pass her off to the manager the minute she got irate with me. One day the woman came into the lobby screaming incoherently.
‘You damn thieves! Someone stole my gift cards from my room!’ The woman said causing a scene. She wasn’t accusing just any worker, but ME specifically of going into the room and taking her property. I worked the front desk. I wasn’t even allowed to leave the lobby. But the woman claimed I snuck off to her room, broke in, and stole gift cards from her.
I called my manager and let him handle her because I was going to lose my job that day. The next thing I know, two policemen entered the lobby. The woman rambles on to them about how I stole the gift cards and she ‘knows it.’
The policemen were very nice and asked the woman to check her room again. When the woman whined about not finding them, the police then suggested she check her car. In the presence of the police officers, the woman was able to find the gift cards in her car.
Then the woman accused me of breaking into her car to the gift cards in there after I was ‘caught’. Dumbfounded, one of the policemen informed the woman that since she found the gift cards, there wasn’t anything else to do. At that point, it was time for me to leave. The crazy woman yelled at us me as I drove away and threw a ziplock bag of shampoos at my moving vehicle! From then on, the moment she stepped foot in the lobby, I got the manager.”
The Real Thing
“One day I was working the front desk when a man entered the lobby with a service dog. At our hotel, service animals were allowed but pets were not. When the man approached the front counter and gave us his name, we quickly realized that he had a reservation and had called us prior to inform us about his service animal.
Shortly after I started checking the guest in, another guest entered the lobby with a Pit-Bull. I immediately noticed how the dog was pulling on his leash and making whimpering noises as he looked around the packed lobby. His owner dressed him in a red and black ‘Service Animal In Training,’ vest. The dog’s yips and whining couldn’t have been more obvious, but the guest kept yanking his dog and pushing down on its back in feeble attempts to get him to sit.
The next series of events happened so fast no one had time to react.
As fate would have it, the two dogs locked eyes across the lobby. Out of nowhere, the pit bull lunged forward and made a horrible snarling sound as he tried to get ahold of the service animal. The guest I was helping screamed in horror as he yanked his dog in the opposite direction. Panicked guests took a step back. The pit bull’s barks and growls echoed through the lobby. It was a scene I had never anticipated, and I knew immediate action was necessary.
Summoning my courage, I swiftly contacted hotel security and requested their assistance. Hotel staff members rushed to the scene. They formed a barrier between the dogs and the surrounding guests. Our security team, well-versed in handling such situations, managed to help the owner of the pit bull pull his dog all the way out of the lobby.
In the aftermath of the commotion, we reassured the other guests and offered our apologies for the disruption. Our priority was to restore a sense of calm and ensure that everyone felt safe and comfortable in the hotel.
As the day continued, the lobby gradually returned to its usual peaceful state. The incident served as a reminder of the importance of upholding policies to ensure the well-being of all guests, including those with legitimate service animals.”
“It was a beautiful, sunny, Tuesday morning. My night auditor had just refilled the complimentary coffee bar when an old man waltzed up to the desk. The night auditor was doing the audit process which only took a few minutes, but I didn’t want my Auditors leaving the desk in case the program ran into an error.
The old man didn’t bother to greet her. ‘The coffee bar is out of napkins,’ he gruffed.
‘Oh, I’m so sorry,’ the night auditor said. ‘I just refilled everything but I’m happy to go check on everything as soon as I’m finished.’
‘And there’s no milk,’ the old man complained again.
‘We don’t keep milk at the coffee bar,’ the night auditor explained. ‘We do have a few flavors of creamer, half and half, sugar, and several options of sugar-free sweetener though!’
The old man shook his head in annoyance. ‘I need some napkins, too.’
By then, the night auditor started to notice his abrasive attitude. Patiently she said, ‘Yes, I will get you some as soon as I am finished with my current task. It will be just a couple of minutes.’
That’s when the cranky old man finally snapped. ‘Now! You’re not busy!’
Still maintaining her composure, the night auditor held up a hand and said, ‘Sir, I am in the middle of an important task. I will get you some napkins just as soon as I am finished. But not before I’m done.’
The old man let out a dramatic sigh and stormed away from the desk. Soon after, the night auditor finished the audit and went around the corner to see the old man dump the entire contents of two FULL canisters of coffee all over the floor of the lobby.
Flustered, she asked him what he was doing. Instead of answering her, the old man threw the basket of sugar packets at her. The night auditor returned to the office to call the police to remove the old man and file a report.
She is charging him with assault and has the full support of our management team. Even though she wasn’t physically harmed.”
Say That Again…And Again
“One night a woman came into the lobby and asked how much it cost for a room. I told her eight-four dollars after tax. The woman then turned around and walked out without a word. Unfazed, I sat back down and started working on something else. A minute later, the woman walked back into the lobby and asked me the exact same question. After I told her the same thing, the woman pulled out her phone and made a phone call (on speaker of course). As soon as the guy said ‘hello,’ the woman said, ‘I need you to cash app me some money.’
Naturally, the guy asked why and how much. The woman turned to me a third time and asked me how much a room was for the night.
‘It’s eighty-four dollars after tax,’ I announced.
The man and woman started going back and forth on the phone about the money. Eventually, THE GUY asked how much a room was again. The woman looked at me expectantly. Again, I inform her that the price for a night was eighty-four dollars after tax.
Then the woman turned around, still talking aloud on the phone, and walked out.
Five minutes later, both she and the guy walked into the lobby. Suddenly the woman demanded him to give me his card. Then the woman faced me and asked how much the room was…again.
I’d like to think of myself as a patient man. So, I told the woman the price again, which incidentally was eighty-four dollars after tax.
Then the guy asked how much the room was before tax. Delighted to switch things up a little, I inform them that the price of the room is seventy-five dollars before tax. That’s when the woman threw up her arms and accused me of lying to her about the price of the room. She started making a huge ruckus in the middle of the lobby at 3 am.
The guy sighed and quietly handed over his card and ID. The woman was still going off on me while I swiped the card. After a few seconds, the kiosk read the price of eighty-four dollars being charged.
Seeing this, the woman raised her voice and accused me of changing the price back and forth.
‘I should get this room for free because you wanted to charge us more!’ the woman hollered.
At that point, I was no longer a patient man.
‘I’ve told you the price probably six times now. You’re either going to pay eighty-four dollars for this room, or leave the property,’ I looked the woman dead in the eyes as I spoke.
Annoyed, the woman grabbed the guy’s arm and announced that they were leaving. I never saw them again.
I have no idea what they were on, but it just seemed like nothing I said was registering. I really feel like I could have said anything and the same thing would have happened.
Well, with the exception of, ‘I’d be more than happy to give you a room for free, would you like a back rub as well?'”
Refusal Of Service
“I came to work one night and discovered we were sold out for the night.
Thirty minutes later, a couple came into the lobby looking to be checked in. The woman was carrying a baby. The man with her looked like a discount seventies bad boy. He had an entire look complete with a bandana, a small goatee, and a thin mustache.
Long story short, I knew I was in for some trouble as soon as they got to the desk.
I asked for the woman’s ID and started looking up their reservation. That’s when she noticed our pool closure sign. Immediately, the woman loudly stated that our pool was the only reason she booked a room there.
I think, ‘Yeah, that’s unfortunate.‘
I then tried to offer them a cancelation with a full refund. After all, if our pool was the only reason for them to be here, then they probably aren’t interested in staying here. The woman, however, was appalled by my suggestion and said, ‘Well I don’t want to cancel because we just drove all the way from Montana!’
I bit my lip and continued typing away on the computer. The woman then added, ‘But I’ll take a reduced rate. After all, we could find a cheaper rate.’
‘Unfortunately, I am unable to adjust the rate because we have already sold out and the rooms are fine,’ I inform her. That was the policy per management.
Out of nowhere, the woman started berating me for refusing to discount the rate for their room. She went as far as stating she wanted to stay at the hotel to help her poor sick baby. Without giving me a chance to speak, the woman demanded to speak to a manager.
‘I’m the only one here,’ I said through gritted teeth.
‘Do you not care about my child, you prick? Is that really what you’re saying?’ the woman said while pointing her finger in my face.
Having had enough, I awkwardly explain that I was refusing service to them because of their behavior. Immediately, her man started calling me a ‘fat cow.’ That began a tirade of them calling me names and expletives all the way out the door. They even sped their car down the parking lot. All the while, I just looked on unfazed. It was a whirlwind of emotion and action, let me tell you.
So, after that, I added them to our banned list and refunded the money on their card.
I know some people would have kept their money and let the bank deal with it, but there was no use doing business with crazy folks. Besides, the room sold already.
Some advice from the front desk: Don’t bully the gatekeeper.”