Flew to Atlanta last night for book research. Paying for the trip myself. Went cheap and got a room via Travelocity at the (egad) Red Roof Inn Plus in Buckhead. It was $68 a night. Seemed fair. I mean, it’s a Plus.
There was one catch—I flew the red eye, so my flight landed at 6 am. That’s why I reached out to the hotel and told them I’d be getting in early in the morning; that’s why I booked it for the previous night. So they’d have a bed where I could crash.
Anyhow, landed after 15 minutes of sleep. Taxi ride sucked. Dropped off at the Red Roof lobby.
“Your room won’t be ready until 3,” the guy said.
“No,” I said, “I booked for two nights so that …”
“You’re late,” he said. “We gave your room away.”
I’m standing in a lobby.
I plead with the guy. “I e-mailed you!” I say.
He looks at the computer before him. “I don’t have you,” he says.
“Do you have ANY rooms?” I say.
“No,” he said. “We’re sold out.”
“Are there any other hotels nearby?” I ask.
“Yeah,” he says. “But they’re all sold out.”
He is cold and oozing 0% empathy. Which is fine. He’s probably tired and worn down, too.
I grunt. Open the door to leave. Scream, “Fuck!” Seemed appropriate. It’s drizzling, and I’m walking somewhere. Down a drive. Somewhere. I see a Hampton Inn across the street. Surely there are no rooms. Or I couldn’t check in until 3. But I approach. I am greeted at the front desk by Nerie. She is a young woman with a warm tea smile and long, precisely manicured nails. She sees my pained expression.
“I’ve had a rough morning,” I say.
She has one room. It’s a double, but she can get it to me for $150. I can check in immediately. She shows me where the coffee is, where the breakfast is. She is the face I need to see at this moment.