On a recent trip to Washington, D.C., we stayed at a comfortable, mid-level hotel that offered free breakfast and didn’t hurt the pocketbook. However, the woman who helped us check into our room was wearing a black bracelet that read, in large white letters, SAME SEX . . . something. Probably “equality.” I couldn’t read it entirely, but I was annoyed.
What if I’d had my children with me? Imagine having to answer the questions that could follow: What is sex? What is same sex equality?
Please. I wanted to check into a hotel, not go into birds, bees, and the difference between homosexuality and heterosexuality simply because I need a place to rest my head at night.
Come to think of it, it’s annoying to have to know any political statement from your hotel employee. I’d feel the same way if she were wearing an “End the War Now” button, or “Raise the Debt Ceiling,” or “Osama Was Framed” or “Flat Tax Rules” or “Vote for Rick Perry.” Give me a nice place to rest, not some sort of bumper-sticker sloganeering along with the keycard.
When my husband and I got into the elevator, we griped about it. But when the hotel manager emailed us after check-in to make sure we were happy with our room, I took the opportunity to explain to him my concern.
“Can’t you just wait until we check out?” my exhausted husband asked with a smile. We fully expected him to respond with a long defense of free speech. Perhaps an explanation that we were in the nation’s capital, where political expression was not only good and healthy, but an expected part of life.
However, I felt that if I didn’t say anything, I’d ceded the moral ground (okay, so just a lobby) to people who value their own opinions above their jobs, their customers, and the eyes of children. It had been a hard political week, and I was fed up. Her bracelet was the last thing I wanted to see.
Surprisingly, the manager’s response was fast and amazing:
I completely agree and will address this at once! Being a native Washingtonian, I know there are areas you don’t go and being apolitical is a requirement. . . . I’m on the same page. I purposely do not sell items in our convenience store that most hotels freely display. I have two girls myself and do not want to have “the talk” on what was suppose to be a fun trip because someone wanted to make some extra dollars by putting adult items next to gummy bears (I have seen that very thing).
The issue was addressed in such a wonderful, professional manner that it put a smile on my face as I walked past the White House later that evening. Sometimes you just need a respite from all the political talk, maneuvering, and spin. And now I know there’s a hotel in D.C. which will provide it.