Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Brush With Disaster

A Beverly Garland guest phoned as I worked out at my gym one morning. I’m happy to cut this short to make a housecall, but the guest wanted me to come at one o’clock. I don’t like appointments, but this seemed an easy visit, and it was convenient because I could go after lunch.

After showering, I was walking to my car when a disturbing thought occurred. Exercise is boring, so I read the New Yorker while on the treadmill. When I finish an issue, I leave it in the locker room for anyone else. With a shock, I realized that I had scribbled the guest’s name and room number on that New Yorker which I later finished and absent-mindedly left behind. I rushed back, but the magazine had vanished. I prowled the gym, searching for anyone reading a New Yorker. No luck. I phoned the Beverly Garland to ask if anyone remembered referring a guest. No one remembered.

Now and then a competitor’s hotel calls when its doctor fails to show up, but I boast that this never happens at my hotels. I always tell a guest when I’ll arrive and make sure that I arrive on time. Now I had visions of the guest fuming as hours passed and eventually denouncing me to the staff.   

I racked my brain. The guest sounded Australian and had a Slavic-sounding name. Dutifully, the desk clerk checked her computer and found nothing. I asked if I could come and examine it myself; she agreed.

Guests who make appointments occasionally change their minds, so I always phone to make sure they’re in the room. With great good sense, I had told the guest I would check at noon. To my immense relief, when 12:30 passed with no call, he phoned.

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