Domestic Violence: We accept the love we think we deserve

There’s something about being hurt that makes us a little harder. A little bitter. A little prouder. And a lot less willing to accept help when we need it the most.

Working in the hospitality field I’ve seen many people come in under circumstances dealing with domestic violence. I’m always a little more sensitive when someone informs me of a not-so-good situation going on at home. If ever I see a license with an address in the same town where I work, I often don’t ask the question of what brings them here. Because when I do, I usually get the blunt truth of someone dealing with domestic violence, silence, or an abundance of tears.

I’m not afraid to talk about domestic violence. I only avoid it to cause less stress or humiliation or obligation for someone who is faced with it. I’m a stranger to them. A nice stranger. But a stranger nonetheless. And who am I to intervene? Who am I to ask questions? Or be anything but someone who helps them escape, if only for a little while.

But today was different. A women came in with the biggest frown I’ve ever seen and I could tell right away whatever she was about to say was not good. I suspected she was unhappy and was quite possibly ready to complain about her stay or something along those lines. But instead, she asked for the cheapest room. I informed her of our prices and she was eager to get a room. At this time of the day it’s not quite 9 AM. We had an almost full house the night before. I inform her that check in time is around 3 PM and she can certainly make a reservation and come back once we can confirm a clean room for her.

She then gets irritated and informs me that she is dealing with a domestic violence issue and she can’t very well live in her car. I apologize automatically. It’s never fun to hear when someone is in between a rock and a hard place.

Our policy is to charge a full day charge on top of the nightly charge if ever someone wants to check in before 11 AM. We rarely have those kinds of people, but when we do, we have to stick to those rates. I informed her of our policy.

She said, “Are you kidding me? I’ll just go live in my car.” I said I could possibly talk to my manager, and she said “Oh yeah, how long will that take?” She started to storm off and I mentioned CAPSA. It’s a shelter in town for women in her position. She gasped and said, “I’m not pathetic”, and proceeded to slam her car door and race away.

I clearly offended her. But that encounter left me confused and shaken up. I was doing my best to abide by my policies and extend to her services that might work in her favor. If she had stuck around a little longer I could have called my manager about her situation and possibly worked something out; however, she left me little to no room to extend my hand.

I know it’s not my job to help people who don’t want to help themselves. I know she was looking for a way out, and I applaud her for that. I know she was dealing with stresses I have no idea about. I know she needed help. But I’m not sure she wanted it. Maybe I shouldn’t make assumptions. And I’m certain that psychology has a lot to say with how she reacted to the whole situation. I’m certain that it’s much deeper than I realize. But in that moment, I couldn’t help but feel sad and angry at the same time.

I wanted to help her, that I’m sure. But she broke my spirit slightly, because she rejected it. And I don’t know very many people in that situation who would easily walk away from the help they so desperately need. And maybe I’m in the wrong here to try and analyze such a heavy matter.

I don’t consider her rude. In any other situation her actions would appear that way. And I’m not going to lose sleep over this, but I can’t help but think she’ll go back to the way things were because she see’s domestic violence shelters for people who are “pathetic” when in reality I see them as places where the strongest people reside.

This post is not to demean anyone in a domestic violence situation. It is to bring awareness to those who are afraid to reach out to shelters, because they see them as “pathetic” or for the helpless, or weak. They are the complete opposite. They are there to lift people up after they have been broken down for so long. And it is to help them see a healthy perspective again. And they are there to protect and provide for people who are in desperate need. Or just seeking to find peace of mind.

I’m not sure I could have done anything different for this particular person, but I will always remain an advocate for those suffering with domestic abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse, etc. And I will always extend a hand out to them. But ultimately it’s up to them to take my hand. And that’s the hardest part.

If you or someone you know is dealing with any kind of abuse, I encourage you to seek and accept help. It’s out there. I promise you, you’re not alone.

NATIONAL DOMESTIC ABUSE HOTLINE: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233

NATIONAL SEXUAL ASSAULT HOTLINE: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

 

 

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Sorry: The Filler Word

Some people say “uh, um, you know? [and] yeah” as filler words.
And some people use “sorry” as a filler word.

I have some advice: [In the kindest possible way]…Please don’t. *insert sorry*

I’ve been working in this hospitality field since 2014 and the one thing that never ceases to exist is the undeniable and almost cringing apologies from guests/customers.

What I mean by this is the amount of times a person apologizes for absolutely no reason at all…or even before they begin to ask a question. (Unfortunately I see this mostly from women and children)

I know where the apology is most likely coming from. They don’t want to inconvenience someone by asking a question they may believe is irrelevant or dumb or unnecessary. But what I don’t understand is where they come to the conclusion that asking questions is an inconvenience for a person wearing a name tag that says “Guest Services”.

I am here to do anything an everything I can in my power to assist you. That’s my job. That’s what I get paid to do. I don’t get paid more by being friendly, but I do have a better work experience if I go out of my way to provide you with the best customer service possible.

I’m on my feet a lot. And that’s OK. I talk to people a lot. And that’s OK. I listen to complaints, concerns, life stories, travel stories, family stories, weather stories, medical issues, funeral updates, wedding memories, laughter, tears, etc. Basically anything to do with the human experience…I have seen it all, and then some. And that’s OK.

My hotel is not considered “fancy”. But we have been known to get exceptional reviews for our cleanliness and friendliness. And to me, that’s the best kind of review. My kind of customer service is answering questions for guests before they ask them. And jumping to my feet to get them what they need. I also think in advance what kinds of things they may or may not want based on their party. It gives me joy to spend my work hours helping others. I may not be entirely changing their lives, but for one night (or sometimes several) I’m giving them a home a way from home to feel comfortable and at ease.

I’m smiling. I’m listening. I’m observing. I’m engaged. I care.

So just a word of advice for guests. Please ask me all the questions you have. And if you must have a filler word, use UM. (haha) Thank you for being considerate and polite. But I promise you, you don’t have to insert “sorry” whenever you need help. It’s truly and genuinely not even the slightly bit problematic. It’s not that I have to help you. It’s that I WANT to help you.

(And if you ever experience someone who gives you a hard time for asking questions or for assistance. Then you’ve unfortunately run into an a**hole who should probably leave the industry, or maybe they are just having a bad day, because after all. We are ALL human!)

Have a nice day! 🙂