Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Near Miss

No one came to the door after several knocks. I confirmed the room number on my invoice.

I had spoken to the guest an hour before and announced my arrival time. Taking for granted that doctors are never early, some guests wander off, but I wasn’t early. This was serious. Unlike the case when a travel insurer sends me, when guests call and then vanish, I don’t get paid.

Some guest sleep soundly. I phoned the room; no one answered. I called the concierge to ask her help; before I finished, she offered to phone the room, put me on hold, and came back a minute later to announce that, sadly, the guest hadn’t answered, but she would be happy to take a message.

Sticking my business card in the door frame, I returned to the lobby and wandered about. Occasionally, for mysterious reasons, guests decide they must meet me downstairs. I look like a doctor in an old movie with a white beard, suit, and doctor’s bag, but no one took the bait.

I struck gold in the hotel restaurant where a man leaped up from a crowded table and hurried over. He began reciting his symptoms until I suggested we wait for some privacy.

When asked why he wasn’t in his room, he answered that he was hungry but that he had told “the hotel” where I could find him. He pointed to a desk clerk who was busy checking in a family.

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