I stay in hotels often – as many as 200 nights every year – and I thought I had seen everything. Until the day I found a needle in my hotel room. What would you do?
I Thought I Had Seen Everything
I have mentioned here on the blog before that I hold top-tier status with four chains and spend a lot of nights on the road both with my family and away from them for work. I have seen a lot in those 200 nights/year including a person dying (I can’t bring myself to write that post still after a couple of years) amongst other sights I can’t forget. Nothing much surprises me anymore.
Then, I found a needle in the oddest place and it upped the ante for future hotels looking to stun.
I want to be clear about one thing in particular, this is not the hotel’s fault. I am not going to disclose the location or brand because this could happen anywhere. I will go so far as to mention that it’s not from a brand I would have expected. The location (both the city and the part of that city) were premium, it was in the nicer side of town. This was not fleabag and many of you have undoubtedly stayed near this location if not in this hotel.
Where I Found The Needle
I was ironing my shirt ahead of a meeting and found a lump underneath the liner. At home, this happens often when the drawstring gets caught from raising it up and down. I tried going around it at first but it was adding more wrinkles than it was taking out so I took a picture about it to complain to my wife about how annoying this lump was. I reached underneath to pull it out.
I felt a plastic package and, intrigued, pulled it out for a look. This is what I found.
I’m not a subject matter expert but here are some quick observations of what I saw. The package was open but I couldn’t see if it had been used. It was capped (courteous of them) but whether it was used or not, the location was clearly meant to conceal the needle and the package had been opened so there was some intent to use it at some point. I feel totally comfortable ruling out any normal purpose for this based simply on its location.
My Response/The Hotel’s Response
Once I realized what I had in my hand, I dropped it on a countertop. I did not remove it from the packet and counted myself lucky that I didn’t poke myself when handling it. I called down to the front desk and asked for the manager, explaining the situation to him.
The embarrassed manager came right up carrying a sharps box, tongs (for handling such items) and a new ironing board. He removed the items, apologized profusely and offered me enough points to offset the cost of the night. I didn’t ask for any remuneration, but in fairness to both parties, I could have become infected by pure accident and to no fault of my own in their property. I appreciated the gesture and it will not prohibit me from staying there again.
One statement he made surprised me.
“We will have to have staff start checking the ironing boards for these.” – Manager
“Oh, I don’t think that is necessary. I’ve never seen it before, surely this has to be a one-off.” – Yours truly
“You’d think, but we were moving a mattress and found a ton of them. We started checking and they are everywhere.” – Manager
The US has an opioid crisis that affects all classes and locations – it’s not a rural or a city problem. But to this point, it seemed too far from me to be real and this reminded me that it’s not. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, free help is available.
Have you ever seen anything like this? What would you do in the same situation? What should the hotel have done?