(Ok, I feel a little better now that I got that out of my system.)
I appears that we’re due for another installment of our “Adventures in Hospitality” series, prompted by today’s events at my hotel.
Traveling with Groups of Children
Heck, I’ll Give ‘Em to the Carnies if it Gets Them Out of My Lobby
Don’t get me wrong, I do like children. Most children. I even like the age that nobody else does — the middle-schooler. But any veteran of the public school wars will tell you that children are at their best when their parents have taught them basic manners and how to use their indoor voices.
We never get these kids. Instead, we get the kids whose parents seem to think it’s all right to get them hopped up on Gatorade (or, heaven forbid, Mountain Dew) and turn them loose to roam the building, running sprints on my stairways (which, sadly, seems to do the opposite of tiring them out), knocking on random doors in the middle of the night, trying any number of imaginative ways to get into my business center, fitness center, and pool unaccompanied by an adult, doing the Ickey Shuffle or Riverdancing or dropping bowling balls in their rooms, and holding luggage cart races in my parking lot. And, when confronted with the misdeeds of their Precious Darlings, the parents, squinting at us through beer goggles or the fog of hangover (depending on the time of day), can nearly always be counted on to take one or more of the following positions: 1) “My child would never do that,” 2) “Isn’t it your JOB to keep the hallways quiet — I mean, that’s what I pay you for,” 3) “Well, it’s stupid that you won’t let him [insert misdeed here] — that’s a dumb policy,” 4) “Well, they’re just kids,” 5) “Other people are too sensitive,” and/or the kicker, 6) “It’s not my fault you don’t have anything for them to do here.”
But they won’t actually do anything about it.
Well, that’s not true. They’ll fly all over me like brown on rice when I kick their 11 of their monsters out of the computer room, or use my best former-middle-school-teacher-death-ray-stare-and-slightly-raised-voice to advise their future jailbirds that there will be dire consequences if they continue to practice penalty kicks in the vending area, or if I (gasp) require “please” and “thank you” before turning over any item requested at the front desk (seriously, people, do you not have toothbrushes?), because how dare I try to raise their child for them? The only thing I can do at this point is to explain my position — that it is not my intention to embarrass them (the parents or the kids), and I am truly sorry if I have done so, but I am responsible for ensuring the comfort of all the guests in my hotel, whether or not they are participating in the same event as your group, and when anything occurs to disrupt that comfort, it is my job to identify the source of that disruption and stop it, involving parents and/or coaches if necessary (and, on one memorable occasion, a scare visit by a sympathetic police officer). As well, unattended children running around a hotel are a huuuuuge safety risk — the days of blithely trusting our neighbors are long gone, and nobody, not even me, knows what type of person is staying in the room next door. I don’t even want to think of what would happen if little Dakota was snatched up by a pedophile simply because he was unattended and in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I also don’t even want to think of what would happen if little Dakota looks me square in the sternum and tells me one more time that I can’t tell him what to do, because there’s always carnies staying at the no-tell down the street, and I’m pretty sure I can convince them that they’re looking for miniature ride operators or weight guessers. I’m persuasive like that.
So, please, parents of the world, especially sports parents of the world, teach your children well/their hotel manager’s hell/will slowly go by . . .
The Woman Behind the Desk with 2 Hours and 14 Minutes to Go