Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CHECKING IN OR OUT (hotel/motel on vacation) (08/27/15)
- TITLE: An Hour in the Lobby of the Travel Right Hotel
By Deborah Engle
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It didn't take him too long to realize that voices seemed to carry in this room. So much for quiet. Glancing about, he found there was a nice view through the window, beyond the parking lot. If he focused on that, maybe he wouldn't notice the voices.
Instead, he found his eyes drawn to a late model Jaguar XK that had just pulled into the lot. An impeccably dressed couple promptly entered and approached the registration desk. Bill turned back to the window, admiring the beautiful automobile. Before long, though, the conversation at the registration desk escalated, and Bill couldn't help but listen.
“What do you mean, you don't take The Power Card? I've been using it for years. Everybody accepts it!You don't know who I am. My card is certainly as good as anyone's!”
“I'm sorry, Mr. Spencer. All we've ever accepted is the Ultimate Card, and that is prominently displayed on our website and in all our advertising.”
“What am I supposed to do, now?”
Before the clerk could respond, the offended couple turned and left in a huff. Before the door was entirely closed, the telephone rang, and was answered promptly by the desk clerk.
“Travel Right Hotel. How can I help you?”
“Oh, yes, Carter Montone. Yes sir, you were due in yesterday. When we didn't hear from you, we were obliged to make your room available to another guest.”
“I'm sorry you had car trouble. No, we don't have anything available now.”
“Yes, sir, we held your room for 12 hours. If you had called two hours ago, we would have … Hello? Mr Montone? Hello?”
Once more the door opened and three little boys, each pulling a suitcase, struggled through, followed by the grown-up version they called Dad. Upon entering, he stooped down and spoke to the young boys.
“Stop your chatter now. This is business, and we must conduct ourselves like gentlemen.” He reached over and adjusted the collar on one of the boys' shirts, gave them all a wink, and stood up to address the clerk.
“Good afternoon. Our reservation is under Mr. and Mrs. Simon Walker, and three children.”
The delighted expression that had greeted the group slowly changed to consternation as the clerk clicked and tapped away on his computer.
“Sir, I have checked every way I know, but I don't see a reservation for any Walkers.”
“I don't understand. My uncle confirmed our reservation yesterday afternoon. Please check again.” While he was speaking, a woman holding a cellphone to her ear hurried through the doorway, and tapped him on the shoulder.
Without turning, Simon responded by reaching across and laying his hand on the woman's arm, saying under his breath, “Not now, Laura!”
“Yes, now, Simon. I've got your uncle on the phone. You wrote down the directions wrong. Instead of Route 23, we're on Route 32! We're at the wrong hotel! Uncle John says we'll have to backtrack a hundred miles.”
“What? Let me talk to him.” Then he imagined three little faces, quietly observing his response. Simon thought for a minute, then turned around . “Well, boys, it seems we have a change of plans. Mistakes happen, and when they do, a real man owns up to them and does what he can to make things right. Let's head back to the car.”
What Bill had just witnessed was admirable, but he was amazed at the number of people who assumed their reservations were guaranteed, yet were turned away. Mr. Walker worked hard to be an example to his children, but he took the wrong route. The Spencers thought their prestige and clout could sway the rules, and had no other options when that didn't work. Carter Montone neglected to take action in a timely manner. By the time he did, it was too late.
Hearing familiar voices approaching, Bill turned and reached out to his daughters. Even without a real opportunity to work on his sermon, he realized God had given him just the material he needed.
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