I love arriving into a new hotel room, even after years and years of traveling. There’s just something about checking out what a room has to offer that still excites me.
Until the other night…
… when the first thing I saw at 11:30 pm after the lights went on was luggage. Open luggage on the floor, luggage that wasn’t mine.
It didn’t take me long to realize the room was occupied. Within seemingly one second, my mind registered that I had walked into someone else’s room and they may be in the bed. I was out of there so fast, my own luggage feeling like it was in mid-air as I spun it around! Was there someone in the bed? Well, I didn’t hear a scream so I really don’t know. All I know is that I never, ever want to walk into such a situation again. Talk about heart-stopping! I can only hope the bed was still empty or the sleeper slept right through it – though I ran in such a hurry that I left the lights fully blazing.
Which brings me to the point of this article. Had the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign been on the door, of course I wouldn’t have entered. I would have made a bee-line for the front desk and possibly saved the sleeper from their own heart attack.
When I finally did get to my new room, I noticed that there was no deadbolt nor chain available on the door. So the only thing stopping someone from entering the room would be the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign.
Yes, I know that sometimes even this doesn’t stop the entry, though it certainly helps more often than not.
This reminds me of a similar situation from a few years back where my friend Margie had quite the surprise herself when she entered her new hotel room. She really needed to use the bathroom immediately so she inserted her key into the lock and made a dash for the toilet. Imagine her surprise as she sat there and noticed toiletries on the bathroom counter – obviously not hers since she had just gotten the key to the room. I can only imagine how fast her pants must have been pulled up! She had no idea if there was a person in the room – in her mad dash to the toilet, she only had one thing in mind and hadn’t yet had a chance to glance around the room. Like my experience, I don’t think she stayed long enough to find out if there was anyone in the room; she just ran to the door and never looked back!
Situations like this occur very infrequently, but mistakes happen. Even if it’s not situations like these, imagine the maid walking into your room as you’re in the shower because you didn’t hear the knock. Or the mini-bar checker entering mid-afternoon as you and your honey are having some private fun. These situations are much, much more common.
So even though you may not be expecting any more maid service for the day or the count of the liquor bottles or turn-down service, always use the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign anyway. It may be the heart-attack preventer you never considered before.