“Memory Lane Mondays” is back! On occasional Mondays, I will present you with the story of one of my most embarrassing moments in the hotel business. There are no profound lessons to be gleaned from these tales – just pure pointing-and-laughing-type humor. Enjoy!
I did my first MOD shift in the winter of 1999. An MOD (or Manager on Duty) shift is when various departments’ managers cover the hotel, usually on weekends or other slow times. I was 24 years old and five feet tall. At that hotel, we did an eight-hour MOD shift every six weeks or so – not so bad, compared with the many MOD programs that made you spend the whole weekend. But also not that great, since, you know, I was 24. We had a four-page checklist we had to complete, and we were otherwise free to do our thing.
By “free” I mean we were working an extra day for free, and by “our own thing” I mean our regular work.
So, there I sat, probably not surfing the internet because we weren’t allowed to have internet access (I know!) or email (can you imagine?). I was probably, like, typing something on a Smith-Corona typewriter and shuffling pieces of carbon paper. I do know that I had the MOD keys and a humongous, cinder block-sized radio.
Bzssch. “Front Desk to MOD.”
Schzzb. “Go ahead.”
Bzssch. “There’s a guest that wants to speak with you.”
Out I walked from my office to the lobby. And there stood an old man. The first thing he said to me was, “Oh, no, I said I wanted to see the manager.” I shrugged and let him know that I was his only option. Poor guy. I was probably the age of his grandchildren.
His story was this. A week before, he had dined in our esteemed restaurant (think Denny’s with room service), where he had been served by some “funny-looking people” who had “mickeyed” his food.
Yeah, I had no idea what mickeyed meant. Once we sorted out that he believed he had been drugged, he went on. “They captured my mind for between four and eight hours. You’re just lucky that I didn’t end up naked in a field. I know a lot about this, because I’ve spent a lot of time hanging out in Vegas during law enforcement conventions.”
So, you know, I listened to his story. I tried to appear empathetic by nodding my head, although I’m sure the look of sheer incredulity on my face belied any supposed empathy I was sending his way. Having not yet completed my full-on hotel indoctrination yet, I don’t believe I was able to pull off a completely false apology or murmur something soothing. Instead, I think I said something like, “There’s no way that happened. Thanks for coming by. I’ll have the manager call you.”
And then I walked into the restaurant and asked them to mickey my coffee.
If you enjoyed laughing at my total lack of skill, you might like reading about when I wore high waters to work or when I walked in on a man fully engaged in bathroom activity.