Friday, July 26, 2013

More Adventures of a Hotel Front Desk Agent

As regular followers of this blog know, I work part-time as a front desk clerk agent at a small, upscale boutique hotel in Lewes, Delaware.  And as I have often said I love my job, my co-workers and where I work.  However, as with any aspect of life there is always the occasional fly in the ointment, so to speak.

Folks, as long as I've been at this job (15 years now, hard to believe these past fifteen years tacked on to a prior 36 year banking career), I always encounter a new challenge.  Always.

Of course there is the always present chance of encountering a Guest From Hell, who, nothing you can do, will please them.  However, I am happy to say that kind of guest is very rare.  Oh yes, they do happen and when they appear in front of me with their nastiness, my professionalism is tested to the max.  But, as I said they are few and far in between, thank God.  I look upon them as a challenge. 

Then something happens like what occurred last night.  As long as I've been at this business I think I've encountered just about any situation and have been able to handle it.  But tonight I was thrown yet another curve ball. Yet another challenge.

So here is what happened: 

I get a call from a man who wants to make a reservation for next week.  The phone connection is bad.  He's probably on his cell phone.  He asks me what rooms are available next Tuesday.  I tell him the availability and give him the rate for the room.  He wants to make the reservation.  So I snap into my routine that I've done thousands of times before.  I asked him his first name.  He says "BUMFUCK."  I begin typing then I realize what he said.  As I began to boil, icily I say "Are you kidding me?"  He said "No.  My first name is Bumfuck."  I . AM . MAD.

Now lets back up so I can put my mindset in context folks.  I have to explain to you why on several levels this made me so angry so very fast.  A few years ago one of my co-worker's husband was using her Facebook account.  He didn't like a video I posted to my Facebook account of two men (brothers) dancing the tango. He posted a rude and offensive and homophobic comment under my co-worker's name.  We got into a big verbal to do.  The situation was finally resolved by me unfriending all of my co-workers from my Facebook account so such a thing wouldn't happen again.

Secondly, someone called me a few weeks ago at work and said "How's that burning ass?" and hung up.  I have NO IDEA who called but I didn't appreciate the humor. I think the "burning ass" comment was in reference to one of my uncomfortable side effects from my brachytherapy surgery for my prostate cancer.

Thirdly, as you regular followers know, my longtime partner Bill and I got married on July 3rd, our 49th anniversary. Our wedding was on the news and the local newspapers.  I was very pleased that I hadn't received one negative reaction to our marriage.  However, when I received the anonymous hang up phone call I assumed the worst.

Now back to our regular programming, I get "Mr. Bumfuck" making a reservation tonight. 

I asked him his last name.  There was a pause and he said "Wait a minute! What did you just say to me?"  I said "I asked if you were kidding with that first name?"  Very angrily he said "Did you just make a racist comment to me?"  I said "I asked you your first name and you said Bumfuck."  He said "No!  My first name is Bumsuk!"  OMG! 

As I extracated my size 12 foot from my mouth, I quickly apologized to him.  I told him I thought he said a "different word that I didn't want to repeat to him."  His anger subsided as quickly as it rose just a few seconds prior.  I apologized to him again and completed the rest of his reservation. 

By the way, his last name was Korean (which I won't repeat out of respect for his privacy) but I guess "Bumsuck" is probably a very common name in Korea.  How would I know?  Probably "George" in Korean.

So folks, seems like Ron was a bit paranoid tonight.  What do you think?  Can you blame me?

I thought for sure that I was being punked tonight.  Either by a homophobe or one of those idiots who work for the Howard Stern radio show.  I'm one of those people doesn't get the humor in these radio shows making obsence calls to people trying to make a living. 

So it was a legit call and I have another hotel antecdote to add for book "More Adventures of a Hotel Front Deck Agent."  And the beat goes on.


anne marie in philly said...

OMB, I LOVE the looney toons pix!

at my job, we receive interesting e-mail from Thailand; some of the names end in "porn".

thankfully you were not being punked and both parties kept their cool.

pat888 said...

Ron - I'm sure it wasn't funny at the time - but your telling of the story certainly shows the comedic side. "F" and "S" sound so similar over the phone, too. I always begin to spell my last name saying "F" like "Frank".

Where I work, in multi cultural Toronto, we see a lot of unusual names. When we imagine these individuals being addressed in court- i.e. Fuk (Japanese - I think), Bonkey, etc it sometimes causes a little laughter. Perhaps some of our names might be just as funny in other lands. I wouldn't think you were overly sensitive - and I think you've got a great sense of humour (cdn spelling). I agree with you re: radio shows.

Jeffrey said...

Ron, I once worked with a Sukmi, a Korean lady. She pronounced it "SongMe". I know. We all got the news via email that she was joining our team. Imagine the comments.

Jon said...

That's a hilarious story! And I think you handled it admirably. As the most paranoid person on earth, I wouldn't have been nearly as adept or gracious. I've heard a lot of weird foreign names in my tie, but I've never encoutered Bumsuck.

I've had a few bum sucks, but that's a different story entirely......

Ron said...


You made me laugh again. That's just another reason you have so many fans. You are funny. Yes, I've had a few "bum sucks" in my life too.

Can you believe going through life with that name? This guy was really indignant when I asked him if he was kidding. I was sure I was being jerked around, no pun intended.


Anonymous said...

I think I would have just told him we were full.

Peace <3

Ron said...


You made me laugh. Once, when I worked at the Hampton Inn in Lionville, PA we had two Chinese guests due in. There were two of us front desk clerks on duty that night. We were worried that we wouldn't be able to keep a straight face when "Mr. Dong" and "Mr. Wang" checked in. I kid you not, real names of real quests. By the way "Mr. Dong" was a No-Show but "Mr. Wang" did show up. Nice looking guy too.


Ron said...


If he was punking me I would have hung up. We get quite a few "hang-ups" at the hotel. More than you would think.


Ron said...


Actually, I got mad pretty fast whereas it usually takes me a while to work up a "mad." I thought for sure someone was jerking me around. When he said his name it certainly sounded like "BumFUCK". I couldn't believe me ears. That's why I asked him if he was kidding.

That's what I like about my hotel job, always something unexpected and interesting. I meet people and encounter situations I otherwise never would in a boring old retirement life.


Ron said...

Anne Marie,

I never got a call from a Thai guest but I have gotten calls for reservations for many Japanese guest. I just hope I never get a call to make a reservation for a "Mr. Poon Tang" 'cause I JUST know I wouldn't be able to not laugh out loud!


Jon said...

Of course I meant to say "time" not "tie". Whenever I type quickly my keyboard skips the M's and N's.

Delighted to know I made you laugh.

Ron said...


Among your obvious many talents (writing, music, art) is your dry, caustic humor. I love it. And again, I think that's why your blog followers love you, me among them.


Lisa researching front desk work said...

Embarrassingly entertaining. Thanks for sharing this great story.

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