Six years ago I was a poor college student working at a local hotel. It was neither fancy, nor seedy. One of those that have kitchens in them and discounted rates for long-term stays. It was an easy job and I didn’t do much.
I worked the 3-11pm shift. That meant people new to town getting ‘home’ from the office and not knowing anyone. That meant people making food in their rooms and coming down to share their dinners. That meant people bringing their laptops to come watch movies with me in the lobby. It was a glorious job for a bored 21 year old, and one of my favorites to this day.
I have a few friends that I made from there with whom I’m still in contact. One girl who lived there with her aunt, brother, and sister. I met my best friend because his roommate’s friend was staying there. I even have a binder-clip-bound conspiracy theory book that one of guests wrote. He was a middle aged man who owned a pomeranian and a yorkie that he had named after snacks, bought a giant box of 24 beers almost every night, had been divorced 4 times (twice to the same lady), smoked like a chimney.. and I cherish the lols his book has given to me.
I owe a lot to that hotel.
One guest was staying in the hotel around this time in 2011. He seemed normal, quiet. He was local, but sometimes people with home renovations would stay there so it wasn’t too odd. He received a lot of Hallmark-sized cards and phone calls, and rarely left his room. We usually had 30-70 other guests so it hit some red flags, but I didn’t think much of it.
Until one day. I got a call from a man asking me to bring a Bible up to quiet guy’s room. I thought it was strange since every room has one, but I complied. I went upstairs and knocked on his door. Upon opening it and seeing his somber face in the dark room, I knew something was up.
A local. Dark room. Quiet. Sad. Doesn’t come down. Greeting cards. Phone calls. Bible requests.
I didn’t want to intrude, but I knew in the pit of my stomach that something was wrong. The next day I approached my boss. Surely there was some protocol for this. There wasn’t. He said I was overreacting and to not intervene, it wasn’t my place. He could give the hotel a bad review if I offended him.
I did as instructed and went about my normal business.
When I went into work a couple of days later on June 25, 2011, there were several police cars. And the coroner. I soon found out that he had killed himself. I didn’t intervene. I could have. I knew something was wrong. And I did nothing.
Always follow your instincts, guys. You don’t know what battles someone else may be going through. Be an advocate, be a friend. Be someone who cares. You may save someone’s life.