Valium Vickie

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Dear Red Roof Inn: How Did That Thing Even Get Into My Room?

I can't say enough good things about the Red Roof Inn. The price is affordable, the rooms are clean and comfortable, and the service is always outstanding. To illustrate this superior customer service, here's an email exchange I had with the general manager (yep, management not just a desk clerk!) at the Wilkes-Barre Red Roof Inn:

Note: The name of the general manager has been changed. In other words, Ben Carson IS NOT the general manager of the Wilkes-Barre Red Roof Inn.


From: jared bilski [mailto:XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 20, 2015 1:18 PM
To XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com
Subject: Your phone message to me (Jared Bilski) yesterday

Benny,

I got your email through the Red Roof Inn twitter account, and I'm writing, as opposed to calling, because my cell phone is almost out of minutes. Basically, I'm writing because I have a question about hotel policy, and I believe you deserve to know this (if you didn't already): Here it is:

As I mentioned in my review, I had NO ISSUES with the hotel and quite enjoyed my stay -- the service was friendly and great, the room was comfortable, etc. However, an incident took place during my stay that I feel I must bring to your attention. I'm not sure how to bring this up without making myself sound a bit off, but this event definitely happened.

After returning from a trip to the ice machine, I heard a wrestling coming from the bathroom of my hotel room. When I went to check on the noise, a small pony came charging out of the bathtub (it had been licking the faucet) and ran straight out of my room. I rushed to the doorway to see where the pony went, and that's when I noticed a man gently leading the pony down the outdoor corridor. He turned back in my direction, offered a wave and said, "Sorry about that, pal. My mistake -- should've been watching him," before disappearing into a room.

Please understand, that I'm not complaining about the pony in my hotel room. I was the one who left my hotel door open when I went to get the ice, and things like this can happen when you leave your hotel door wide open. I CAUSED the situation, and I take full responsibility. I'm only bringing this your attention on the off-chance you weren't aware that a small pony was staying in the hotel that weekend. I know many hotels are pet friendly these days, but I doubt that amenity includes small horses. Whether you were or weren't aware of the situation, can you please let me know for my own peace of mind?

Sincerely,
Jared Bilski

RE: Your phone message to me (Jared Bilski) yesterday

From XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com >
To: XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com >
Cc: XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com >
Sent: Thursday, August 20, 2015 2:58 PM
Subject: RE: Your phone message to me (Jared Bilski) yesterday

Hello Mr. Bilski,
        
Thank you for responding to my telephone message to you yesterday and for relaying your questions and concerns from your recent stay here. I am happy to hear you enjoyed a clean room and received good customer service from our staff.   I am not aware of anyone seeking approval from our staff that weekend to have a small pony stay in any of our rooms.  We follow our corporate pet policy which allows for one well behaved pet to stay in the room and the pet cannot be left unattended.  Had we been asked about a pony staying in one of our rooms, we would have responded that this would not be allowed.  We do have several “horsemen” from the Pocono Downs harness racing track stay with us.   The track is only about 2 miles away from our inn.   It could very well be that one of these horsemen had such a pony with them and it got away for a few minutes.   If that was the case,  I do apologize for such an interruption during your stay.   You are correct that we would not allow such an animal in our rooms, if we were asked by a guest.  
         
Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns regarding this matter.  Thank you again for bringing this to our attention.

Benjamin Carson | General Manager
P XXX.XXX.XXXX | F XXX.XXX.XXXX | C XXX.XXX.XXXX
Red Roof Inn – Wilkes-Barre • 1035 Highway 315, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com


From: jared bilski [mailto:jrdbilski@yahoo.com]
Sent: Friday, August 21, 2015 10:46 AM
To: XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com
Subject: Re: Your phone message to me (Jared Bilski) yesterday

Benny,

Thanks so much for your response -- and for clearing up the situation. No need to apologize. I just thought I was losing my mind when I saw that pony/small horse scampering across the second floor outdoor corridor. I really needed to confirm what I saw for my own sanity, you know?

As for the "horsemen," I'm well aware. I have family in the area, and they all love Pocono Downs. In fact, my great uncle, Salvatore 'whispers' Scrimallini was once a noted horseman himself. Unfortunately, in a tragic accident, he was trampled to death by one of his one horses. But you don't need to know that.

One last question: Is it possible that a guest brought a pony through the lobby so quickly he was able to convince the night manager he was checking in a large dog? I know that sort of thing has happened at other hotels. Please let me know -- and thanks again for the great service!

Sincerely,
Jared Bilski

From: XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com >
To: XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com >
Sent: Saturday, August 22, 2015 7:18 AM
Subject: RE: Your phone message to me (Jared Bilski) yesterday

Hello Jared,
      In response to your additional question,  I suppose anything is possible.  I would think though that my staff would be able to identify a horse vs. a large dog.   Thank you.

Benjamin Carson | General Manager
P XXX.XXX.XXXX | F XXX.XXX.XXXX | C XXX.XXX.XXXX
Red Roof Inn – Wilkes-Barre • 1035 Highway 315, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com



From: XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com
Sent: Sunday, August 23, 2015 10:18 PM
To: XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com
Subject: Re: Your phone message to me (Jared Bilski) yesterday

Hi Benny,

Again, thanks for the response. I really appreciate the service! When you explain it that way, I suppose it is kind of silly to think your staff wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a horse and a pony. I mean, everybody has the Internet these days, you know? Anyway, one final theory -- and it's just a theory: Do you think it's possible that someone sneaked a pony in to hide it for a one-year old's birthday party?

I'm not sure if you're from the area or if you simply manage the hotel there, but Wilkes-Barre has a longstanding tradition of throwing elaborate, over-the-top children's birthday parties dating all the way back to the early 40s -- a time when Wilkes-Barre and Scranton was basically controlled by the mafia. I heard a story about a one-year-old birthday in Dunmore (next to Scranton) where the parents had 14 peacocks and four ostriches (like in the Bible) as well as a pony and goats.  Did you know the area used to be mafia controlled, Benny? It's a fascinating story and I highly recommend "The Quiet Don" if you're looking for additional info.

So which do you think is more likely -- a stray horse wandering over from Pocono Downs or a sneaky and affluent parent trying to keep all the surprises under wraps from friends, neighbors and other family members until the big day? If it's the latter, I think it's disgusting that people would blatantly disregard hotel policy when the Red Roof is simply trying to give people a comfortable stay at an affordable price.

Sorry for the long nature of the response. I know this sounds a little nutty, and I know you have more important things to do than respond to my hunches, but I'm really curious about your thoughts: Were you aware of the elaborate and competitive children's birthday party scene up in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area and, if so, do you think it could've somehow had anything to do with the pony I saw? Let me know. And thanks again for the service -- it's great to get a manager who actually takes the time to listen and respond these days!

Sincerely,
Jared Bilski

From: XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com >
To: XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com >
Sent: Monday, August 24, 2015 10:05 PM
Subject: RE: Your phone message to me (Jared Bilski) yesterday

Hello Mr. Bilski,
         To answer your question, no I was not that aware of how elaborate and competitive children’s birthday parties could be.  Again, anything is possible.  I would hope though that if that were the case, my staff would realize and deal with the situation and follow our pet policy.  We would not knowingly let a pony stay on our property.  Thank you also for sharing some history on the area.

Benjamin Carson | General Manager
P XXX.XXX.XXXX | F XXX.XXX.XXXX | C XXX.XXX.XXXX
Red Roof Inn – Wilkes-Barre • 1035 Highway 315, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com

 
From: XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com
Sent: Thursday, August 27, 2015 10:48 PM
To: XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com
Subject: Re: Your phone message to me (Jared Bilski) yesterday

Benny,

My pleasure. Wilkes-Barre has a much more interesting history than most people realize. If you'd like, I can let you borrow my copy of "The Quiet Don" so you can learn more? Let me know.
Benny, I just learned some upsetting news that I feel compelled to share with you. I told my cousin, the one I shared the room with at your Red Roof, all about the theories we were discussing regarding the stray Pony, and he immediately started shaking his head. "Dude, that pony wasn't real," my cousin said. 

See, during our stay, I hadn't been feeling well, and I had a fever of 101. When my cousin saw my condition, he offered to make me some tea. Apparently my cousin meant to give me some homemade peppermint tea that he swears by, but he accidentally gave me something much stronger. 

Unbeknownst to me, my cousin had given me a powerful -- but supposedly legal -- hallucinogen. The pony that charged through my room was nothing more than a convincing visual hallucination. My cousin said I wouldn't stop talking about it and, even though he considered telling me about the accidental drugging, he ultimately decided it would freak me out too much (I'm not a drug guy). So when I awoke the next morning, feeling surprisingly refreshed, I was convinced I'd actually seen a pony in my room the previous night -- and I just couldn't figure out how it got there. And because my cousin never told me about the hallucinogen (until now), the whole thing was making me a little crazy. 

That's why I contacted you. Now I feel horrible about the way this whole thing played out -- and the fact that you were probably worried about ponies getting into your hotel. Had I known about my cousin's stupid mistake, I would've never wasted your time with this. But I will say this, Benny: Your customer service has been outstanding -- and I really, really appreciate all of your responses to my questions. I was wondering if there was anything I could do for you to make up for this -- a glowing review on Trip Advisor, a testimonial, a handwritten letter to the Red Roof Corporate Offices about the outstanding service I received from you? (Obviously, I'll leave out the part about the hallucinogen and the pony.) I feel like this is the very least I can do after all of the trouble I've caused, but if you have something else in mind, please let me know. Again, my apologies for the mix-up.

Sincerely,
Jared Bilski

From: XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com
To: XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com >
Sent: Saturday, August 29, 2015 7:25 AM
Subject: RE: Your phone message to me (Jared Bilski) yesterday

Hello Mr. Bilski,
          
In response to your recent message,  I would never turn down the offer from a guest to do a positive Trip Advisor Review.  I am very happy you shared your comments and concerns with me.   Your feedback is so very important to me and our entire team.   Please do not ever think you were wasting my time as we tried to justify what you reported.  Thank you again for your offer to do a TripAdvisor review.  We look forward to serving you again in the future.  Thank you.
 
Benjamin Carson | General Manager
P XXX.XXX.XXXX | F XXX.XXX.XXXX | C XXX.XXX.XXXX
Red Roof Inn – Wilkes-Barre • 1035 Highway 315, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com
 
From: XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com
Sent: Wednesday, September 02, 2015 1:30 PM
To: XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com
Subject: Re: Your phone message to me (Jared Bilski) yesterday

Benny,

Please, call me Blinky (what friends call me); we've exchanged enough emails now that I consider you a friend. I will definitely write up that review ASAP. But real quick, after thinking it over, I was wondering if you thought I should actually include the part about my cousin accidentally giving me the psychedelic tea and me hallucinating the pony and all that -- or if I should just keep the review generic and focus on the quality of my stay and the staff's (i.e, you) response to my many questions?

The reason I'm asking is because the details of the pony hallucination could cause the review to go viral, which would in turn cause more people to seek out the hotel. You know, outlets like TMZ, Buzzfeed, Tosh.0 and Marie Claire may be inclined to pick up a "Patient hotel manager expertly responds to insane guest who thought he saw a pony running through the hotel but was really under the influence of a powerful, hallucinogenic tea" story and that would probably be good for you guys, right? Just a thought -- let me know.

Also, you never let me know if you wanted to borrow "The Quiet Don." I have to go up to Scranton in Nov. for a live draft of this celebrity death pool my family does, and I could drop it off then. Let me know.

Thanks again for everything,
Blinky

From: XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com >
To: XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com >
Sent: Wednesday, September 2, 2015 2:47 PM
Subject: RE: Your phone message to me (Jared Bilski) yesterday

Hello Jared,
       
My hope in asking you to write the Trip Advisor review would be to share your comments regarding the quality and cleanliness of your room and the customer service you received here.   These are the things that potential guests are mostly curious about and looking for - when seeking lodging.    While I am not much of a book reader, I appreciate the offer and loan of your book.  Please feel free to stop in and see us when you are in town next time.  Take care and thank you for doing the review.
 
Benjamin Carson | General Manager
P XXX.XXX.XXXX | F XXX.XXX.XXXX | C XXX.XXX.XXXX
Red Roof Inn – Wilkes-Barre • 1035 Highway 315, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com


From: XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com
Sent: Monday, September 07, 2015 6:55 PM
To: XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com
Subject: Re: Your phone message to me (Jared Bilski) yesterday

Benny,

Please, please call me Blinky. Pretty much everybody who I've talked to more than twice calls me Blinky. I can be there Monday, Wednesday or Friday between 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., so just let me know when you're working, and I'll swing by and drop off "The Quiet Don" with you. Wednesdays between 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m work best, but whatever is easier for you.

As for the review, I get it. For professional purposes, you probably want me to keep any references to the pony/involuntary hallucinogenic drug usage referenced only in code -- or not at all. Would you like to see a draft of the review in advance -- or is that something you guys don't do? Let me know.
Sincerely,
'Blinky' Kenn Larson

From: XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com
To: XXXXXX@XXXXXX.com
Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2015 3:32 PM
Subject: RE: Your phone message to me (Jared Bilski) yesterday

Hello Blinky,
        
 I apologize for not replying to you sooner.   Things have been very busy here at the property.    I am not much of a reader, so thank you very much for the offer of the book, however, I would decline at this time.    We would appreciate your doing a positive on-line review with TripAdvisor where you can comment on the condition and cleanliness of your room, and the customer service received.  I would not need to review it prior to your doing it.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  Thank you very much.