I have been spending a lot of time in Kansas City, Kansas a lot lately.
One of my trips I had to stay at a Hampton Inn near our client's office. I had a nice 4th floor room (room 415) with a fridge and microwave and a king size room. Ah, the comforts I need for the life on the road. Only hitch was the "desk" that was a rolling table that rolled into the cubby on the outside wall. Not bad, but a little tight when you consider that the chair was pushed back against the bed and the TV is on the cabinet behind.
My first day in there the room was a bit chilly, and the world outside was cloudy and gloomy. I left for the client and returned to a room that was somewhat cool, but it was still comfortable. Day too was colder, but the room was still just cool, not as warm as the day before, but then it was colder outside.
Day 3 was just plain freezing outside. I returned to the room and started working on other client issues that needed to be dealt with right away. As I sat there I realized my feet were not just cold but were actually starting to feel frozen!
I got out of the chair and looked around for the thermostat, but to no avail. I walk over to the heater unit by the desk, and pop open the cover only to find that I have been in this room for three days and the cotton picking heater has been OFF. No wonder I was cold. So naturally I turned on the heater, set the temperature, and then sat back in my chair to continue working.
Shortly after I begin to smell the usual smell we all get when firing up a heater for the first time. It's the smell of dust and other unknown particles being burned to a crisp on the heating elements. This is a smell I usually welcome because it means that the heat is on and my comfort level is on the way up. Ah what a wonderful thing heat is when you are just plain cold.
However, I quickly realized that something just wasn't quite right. I smelled something more than just that usual scent, this smelled like something was burning. As a matter of fact, it was getting smoky too. Uh, I had think I had better do something before...
Yup, too late. It's the smoke alarm. I found myself scrambling to get the heater off and grab a coat, hoping all the while that I had not just set off ALL the alarms in the building. As I exited into the hall I gasp for and and then breathe a sigh of relief (and fresh air) as the alarms were silent int he hallway, which is more than I can say for my room.
I head downstairs to the front desk and talk with the attendant. I am in luck, she had not realized that the alarm had been tripped (although I am not sure how lucky that really is now). She quickly assigned me a new room and came up to help me move into the other room around the corner from my now smoke filled room. As she stepped off the elevator she quickly stated this was the worst she had ever smelled.
I checked out the next morning and the staff the next morning thanked me for not burning down the entire hotel.
Fast forward two weeks and I am headed back to the same client. I call the same hotel and as I am discussing the rate fro my room I suddenly hear her exclaim "I know who you are!"
Here it comes...
"You're room 415! You set the heater on fire a while back."
Yes, I was known.
So I check in the next night and as the clerk hands me my key card I notice that he is grinning. I look a the room number and guess what it says? Yep, 415.
"I heard you really liked that room, sir." *wink*
I laugh and head off to my room for another fun filled week of work. Surprise, surprise, they had a new heater unit in the room. Oh look, it doesn't smoke! I spent an uneventful week in that room and headed home again.
Fast forward another week. I am again on the phone with the same hotel. I got as far as my name and they already knew me by reputation, and I was already assigned the same room.
Well, at least there is consistency in my life, right?