The Kiddie Pool
Odd requests are part and parcel of my job, and if I stopped to question every single one of them – especially the ones from the well paying guests – I would be the curious cat that was killed (literally). Ignorance really is bliss.
‘The CEO’ checked in on a Thursday and booked one of our largest suites – the ones that cost more a night than I make in a month – through the weekend till Monday. He was an out-of-towner, here on a business trip, but all work and no play makes CEO a dull boy.
As he left the hotel on Friday morning for work, he requested for a kiddie pool to be bought and sent to his room. We don’t ask “why?” so the request was passed on and someone was dispatched to purchase the pool.
The CEO must have returned late that night because it wasn’t until the next morning that he asked why the pool was still in the box when he wanted it to be set up. An unhappy guest is where I step in, so with a smile, a few reassuring nods and words, the situation was settled.
“Would you like us to set it up in the bathroom, sir?’ I asked.
“No. Set it up next to my bed.”
“Next to the bed?”
“Yes, on the left side.”
I know what you’re thinking – “WHY?” and to be perfectly honest, I thought the same thing too but ignorance is bliss, remember?
So the pool was set up, in the room, on the left side of the bed and filled with water. Case closed. But not quite.
I was working an over-night shift that evening, and it largely passed by without incident until the phone on my desk rang at 2am. The CEO had a problem and he had asked for me specifically to help him solve it.
I made my way up, psyching myself to be prepared and composed for whatever awaited me on the other side of those doors. I heard muffled music when I reached the room so I knocked hard, identified myself, and waited as I heard someone on the other side unlocking the doors. They were opened by a woman, clad in robes and sipping champagne. She waved me in and I walked into a scene straight out of a movie.
There were women and men – lots of them – sitting on the sofas, stretched across the tables, sprawled across the floor, leaning against the wall, and bent over the dresser. They came in all shapes, sizes, ages and colours. All manner of clothes were strewn over the floor, and all manner of sounds could be heard complementing the slow percussion soundtrack that was playing throughout the suite.
Like a racehorse with blinders on, I looked straight and raced to the place I predicted the CEO would be.
It was actually the first time I saw the kiddie pool set up, on the left side of the bed, filled with water, the CEO and two women who stretched it beyond a point I thought it could be stretched. There were remains of bubbles around them, which I imagined there must have been more of before they spilled out all over the floor and carpets, soaking everything within a few feet of this horrid trio.
“I need more rubbers,” barked the CEO before I could get in a word.
“Condoms! I need some more, we ran out. Go get me some. A few boxes,” he finished as he splashed around a little, sending more water out of the pool. I nodded and took it as my cue to leave, before he thought about asking me to refill the pool.
So at 2 in the morning I was on a scavenger hunt, so that a well paying businessman and his cohorts could have safe sex; it was one of those moments when I started writing my resignation letter in my head.
I headed to the hotel’s convenience store first only to find out that they were sold out because the CEO had bought them all out. It dawned upon me that I needed some backup, so I roped in a colleague and we ventured out in opposite directions to every 7-Eleven and 24-hour mart we could find.
I picked up every box of every size I could because I didn’t want to run the risk of them running out again. Three stops, three awkward cash-outs, and many disturbed looks later, I rendezvoused with my colleague, who came back with one more plastic bag than me. We then took the most awkward elevator ride of our lives.
The lady in robes let us in and we placed the bags on the coffee table, before the nude human-like vultures swarmed in and grabbed what they wanted. But before I could leave, the CEO called us over to the kiddie pool as I prayed that there would be no more requests.
“Thank you,” he said almost politely. “You are welcomed to join us if you want.”
I smiled politely, thanked him for the offer, said: “no” and raced back out, as the soundtrack started to build up again.
I checked with the front desk and learned that he would be staying another night, so I called in an emergency leave and never saw the CEO check out.
Service with a smile
Earlier on I admitted that I would be lying if I said this job hasn’t changed me; it has, in some ways for the better, but in other ways for the worst.
In the latter way: I have become more cynical and less trusting of people. It is hard not to believe everyone has a dark secret they’re hiding behind, and try almost too hard to find out what it is.
However, on the other end I’ve become more patient and more appreciative of the people in the service industry. I’ve also come to realise how utopian our so-called moral standards are, and now believe that, so long as no actual harm is being caused people should be allowed to live their lives however they choose to.
But the most important thing I’ve learned is to live with a smile.
My well-crafted and practiced smile has been my greatest asset to my work. I have been shouted at, had all kinds of abuse hurled at me and called all kinds of foul names but have always replied with a smile. In most instances it diffuses an intense situation, while in others it makes the angry person even angrier, which is very entertaining for me to watch.
Even as I write this, we are dealing with a nightmarish guest who has been with us for a month and whose requests have reached the limit of what we can put up with, even if she is still paying. So as we plan her eviction, I’m prepping my smile to hopefully bring the situation to a calm end.
Oh, but if a smile doesn’t work, big and fierce security guards always help.
So, thank you for taking the time to let me bear my soul and get some of this off my chest. Don’t worry about my safety because I haven’t revealed anything that can really hurt anyone. And most importantly, enjoy your next stay at any hotel, but try to keep the odd requests to a minimum, because I’ve been told that Malaysia Tatler is open to a Part 3.
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