Last week, Janna was out of town in Iowa visiting her mother. Sometimes, when Janna visits, her mother will reserve a room at the local Best Western so they can swim together and work out and enjoy some private time away from the rest of the family. How did “Best Western” become “Worst Western” in the flash of a leering eye and a filthy mouth? I’ll tell you right now.
Janna is Deaf, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t sometimes use her voice and she loves her iPhone as her main communication device.
When Janna uses her iPhone for a rare voice call — with me only — she does the talking and I do the listening — sometimes speech is faster than typing when you’re tired and want to quickly reflect on the events of the day.
It was 11:30pm in Iowa when Janna called. She was sitting alone in the Best Western lounge because that was the only place in the motel that had a bit of an AT&T cellular signal.
When Janna stops talking on the phone for a long time, I have learned to be quiet and listen because something odd is usually happening on her end and I can sometimes overhear the trouble if I listen closely enough.
I heard a man’s voice getting louder and louder.
I heard Janna raise her voice to tell him to leave her alone.
Then I heard a man yelling at her and cursing her out.
My temper was rising 1,300 miles away in New Jersey at 12:35am.
Janna said, in her meanest, loudest, New York City voice, “Leave me alone! Stop looking at me! Go away!”
Then I heard the guy shout, “Why are you talking to me?”
“I’m not talking to you, I’m talking to my husband on the phone, get away from me!”
Janna fumbled with her iPhone and came back to me and asked if I overheard what happened. I told her I had and I asked her what that was about and if I could help.
She said a Best Western employee had been leering at her for the last 10 minutes as she sat in the lobby chatting with me. He had finally approached her and she was immediately uncomfortable with his body language and she told him to get away and to leave her alone.
She decided to report the incident right away to a guy who looked to be the night manager behind the front desk — but he was not interested in taking her complaint. He told her to come back in the morning to make a report.
I thought that was an unacceptable answer. I told Janna I would call the front desk and ask for better action.
First, I called the Best Western 800 number to report the harassment. They were unwilling and unable to take my complaint.
When I called the front desk of the Iowa Best Western from our home in New Jersey, the guy who answered the phone — and who had previously spoken with Janna — said he was not the night manager, he was “just the only one there” and that the guy who had leered at, and harassed Janna, was the Best Western Shuttle Van driver. He gave me the name of the Shuttle driver.
I was told to call back in the morning and to speak with Rana or Stephanie. They were the managers. Nothing could be done now.
I found that response strange, odd, and disappointing. The Shuttle Van driver should’ve at least been sent home for the night for his inappropriate and angry behavior.
I asked the non-night manager only-guy-there to please have either Rana or Stephanie call me in the morning to discuss the issue and he said he would.
Relaxing swimming weekend ruined.
Janna filed her written complaint with the front desk in the morning.
So there you have it — how “Best Western” became “Worst Western” — all in the span of a 30 second argument with a paying customer and paid staff.
I am still curious why, in this rotten economy, Best Western can’t find a better Shuttle Van driver than the one stationed in Iowa who prefers to harass women in the lobby at night than tending to the job assigned to him.
A woman has the right to sit alone in a motel lobby at 11:30pm and chat with her husband on the phone without being leered at or engaged in an unwanted and unnecessary, conversation.