My hotel room for the conference came with a little surprise. Nothing much, really, just a man. A stranger. A face I could easily forget because when I opened the door to Room 3333 and saw the room was occupied, I closed it so quickly I never really looked at who I was rejecting.
“Just kidding!” I said as I hurriedly shut the door.
I can only imagine what the occupant was thinking.
Before I stepped into the elevator to leave Floor 33, I responded to the welcome text the registrar had sent me upon check-in.
“Somebody is already in that room.”
I got to the lobby and stepped back into the registration line behind the swelling crowd of conference goers, when Fallon, the registrar, sent me her text, indicating I could go see her immediately (or so I understood). So I skipped the line and headed for her station.
She told me the person in the room had not vacated as expected (clearly!), and she not only gave me another room, but she also gave me a $50 credit for “my inconvenience” as well as apologies from herself and the manager. More important, she then phoned my new room to make sure no one else was there.
All clear. Or at least no one answered the phone.
The new room was lovely — and unoccupied. Now comfortable in my living space for the week, I have found great delight in sharing my story and spending my hotel credit. (I’ve wondered if the hotel also had to compensate the man in Room 3333. I can imagine that the larger injury was to him…)
My story, along the lines of “my hotel room came with a man,” has proven to be a great ice breaker at the conference where networking is encouraged.
“Wow! A bonus!” and “You got a man for free?” are just some of the more memorable comments I’ve heard.
I may have taken the “networking” aspect of the conference a bit far, however.
I had left the conference center to return to my room. As I stepped into the elevator and pressed my floor number, I noticed that the button for Floor 33 had been pressed. Besides me, the elevator held only one occupant. Man + Floor 33. Hmmm…
“You wouldn’t by any chance be headed to Room 3333, would you?” I asked the man, despite the fact that elevator etiquette would suggest we merely stare at the door and ignore fellow passengers.
“No, why?” he asked.
I told him the story.
“And since I left the room so quickly, I have no idea who he was. I just thought I’d ask.”
He laughed. (Whew.) I laughed. And I realized that while the man in Room 3333 may be a stranger to me forever, I am pretty strange myself.
(I hope the hotel did offer him some compensation.)