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For lack of a master key (or a good boot)

“I could kick down the door for you,” I offered. “I could do it now, but I’ll do it for sure when I come back this afternoon.” 

I wasn’t trying to be mean and I laughed when I said it, but I meant it. A door and the measly electronic lock mounted on it were all that stood between me and my clothes, my shoes, my book and all of the other items I had dropped off in my hotel room the day before.

Let me back up.

I went to Portland to cover the two-day OSAA wrestling tournament on Friday. I attended the tournament earlier in the day and then during a break in the action, I went to check in at the Motel 6.

I’ve previously stayed at the Motel 6 Downtown and while it isn’t the Ritz it was reasonably priced and nice enough to stay at a second time, so I checked in. 

I paid my bill, got my room key and put my luggage in the room. 

I turned the heat on low so the room wouldn’t be covered in icicles when I returned and went back to the tournament.

Late Friday night, after returning from the boys basketball win over Molalla, I arrived back at the motel.

When I approached the door the lights on the lock mechanism (one red, one green) were both lit and while I thought it strange, I inserted my card anyway and tried to enter my room.

You have to understand that it was close to freezing outside and I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt because when I left Brookings the weather was amazing. I had warm clothes in my suitcase, but I hadn’t had a chance to change yet and was looking forward to a warm room, a warm bed and a bit of mindless television before going to sleep.

The lights on the lock remained solid and the door refused to budge. I double checked the room number thinking I was at the wrong door and it was correct so I tried again; nothing.

After multiple tries with the key card I walked down to the office. The shades were drawn, the office door was locked and there was a sign in the window that said, “office closed, don’t ring the bell.”

I gave that sign heed for about two seconds until the most recent bout of shivering ran its course and I was able to reach out a shaking finger to push the bell button.

After a few moments the manager came to the window with a less-than-happy look on his face – it was pushing midnight after all – and asked what I needed. 

I explained that my key wouldn’t work in my room door and passed him my key through the slot in the window.

He reset the keys and sent me back to my door to try and gain entry again.

I failed. I looked down at the window from where he was watching and held up my hands in the universal ‘what do I do now’ sign. 

I was soon joined at the door by the manager who was wearing a heavy pea coat and a stocking cap.

After trying my key, his master key and resetting my keys a number of times, he brought out the door reset tool which he plugged into the bottom of the handle and used to no avail. My door was still locked with my belongings on the wrong side of the equation.

By the time he had tried resetting the door itself, the manager took notice of what I was wearing and invited me to sit in the lobby of the hotel while he continued to work on my door. I’ll have to give him this; that manager was persistent, it wasn’t until 2 a.m. that he finally admitted defeat and came back to the office.

“We’ll have a lock specialist come in the morning and try to fix it,” he said as he came into the office. “Until then, I’ve got some people who are leaving room 103 because I wouldn’t let them party with their friends in the room.”

It took another 30 minutes and my room was ready. As I walked in the stench of pot was so overwhelming, I had to back out of the room. 

I went back to the office and told him I wouldn’t be staying in that room because it smelled so much like marijuana.

He said, “No, no, they didn’t get a chance to smoke it because I told them they couldn’t party in there. It’s OK.”

I asked for a refund of my money, told him I would stay at another hotel and that I would be back in the morning for my stuff.

He willingly refunded my money and told me that the lock specialist would be there in the morning to free my belongings.

I hit the freeway and headed south until I saw advertising for a large chain and got a room. Four hours later and wearing the same clothes I’d had on the day before, I was up and headed back north to cover the final day of the tournament. 

When I stopped at the site of the crime there was a ‘lock specialist’ working on the door of my room. The resemblance of the specialist to the manager was uncanny and I can only assume that they were brothers (cousins at least) and he was having no better luck with my door than the manager had the night before.

I offered to kick down the door. He turned me down and told me that they would have it open by afternoon if I could come back.

Finally at 1 p.m. my clothing and I were reunited ... I just wish I had had a chance to kick down the door.

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