For those of you that know me well- you know I don't mind telling "on myself"- if it's a good story- no matter how embarrassing. This is such a story.
Once upon a time, not too awfully long ago, people were still allowed to smoke on hotel balconies. This following story is a true one, and probably should have pushed me into the "non-smoker's" category!
I was on an overnight, a short one. We arrived around 10 p.m., and were due to leave the hotel early the next morning. The whole crew (pilots as well as flight attendants) were staying at the same hotel. We checked in, and I got a room with a balcony!
Once in my room I did my usual routine. I bolt locked the door, and also pushed that wonderful little metal v-shaped security lock onto the knob, thereby assuring me my safety. I lifted the security bar on the sliding balcony door and placed it where it's stored, inside the casing of the frame. I stepped out, slid the door shut, and lit a cigarette.
And then I heard a "clunk" sound. I didn't think too much of it at the time- it was just a metal clunking sound. It could be anything, coming from anywhere. I finished my cigarette.
What happened next had never happened before- or after this event.
I couldn't get back into the room! The metal security bar had fallen back down into the track of the sliding door, securely keeping it closed. (So, THAT'S what the clunking sound was!).. I told myself not to panic!
It's late. I'm on the second floor, but below my room was a road going down into a lower parking level- making my room more like a third floor! O.k.- so jumping is NOT an option!
My cell phone was in my purse, sitting on the bed! DAMN! No one was around! I yelled "HELP!" No windows opened, no people showed up. Oh God help me- now what?! I didn't know whether to laugh or cry! So I laughed. This situation was a new one- that was for sure!
There was no furniture on the balcony. If I was going to sit- or sleep, it was going to be on the cement floor of that balcony! It was cool outside, cool enough for a coat- but at least it wasn't freezing! But how cold was I going to get by morning??!!
I could almost see the front of the hotel. That is where the crew van was going to pick us up in the morning. I've been blessed with great lungs (in spite of my occasional smoke)- so I knew that I could yell loud enough to get my fellow crew member's attention. But that was about 7 hours away.
I kept reviewing my options. O.k.- no jumping. Could I climb down? I prayed for someone- anyone to walk in or out of that hotel!
At about 11:30 p.m. someone from the hotel staff came out of the front door and headed toward his car. My lungs served me proud! I yelled LOUD! "HELP! SIR! HELP!"
When he finally focused on me, I told him I couldn't get into my room. At first he thought someone had locked me out. Once I explained the situation he disappeared inside.
The night manager came out, laughing! He asked to tell him again what happened. Relaying my story- AGAIN, I added that to add to the problem, my door was not only dead bolted, it also had the security lock in place. Key or no key, he wouldn't be able to get in my room and rescue me!
He threw up his pack of cigarettes, so I could have another smoke- while he tried to figure out what to do. At one point, he figured he might have to call the fire department. (Oh No!)
Another half hour passed. The manager kept walking into the hotel, then coming out to be sure I was "hanging in there". I assured him I was not going to panic and jump! But now I really needed a bathroom! The good ole bladder decided it couldn't handle all the excitement! I had a talk with that bladder! I said to my body- "No matter WHAT, you will NOT have an accident! This is as humiliating as it's going to get!"
And then I heard a sound behind me! A maintenance man was standing in my room! He was picking the security bar up from the track, putting it where it suppose to stow, and watching it fall back into the track. I'm not sure how many times he did this. It was like he was mesmerized! Pick up and stow- watch it fall. Pick up and stow the bar- watch it fall!
I knocked on the door. (I was now as close to a pee-pee dance as was possible, without giving in to the urge to release!) "Please!! Let me in!" He apologized and open the door. I practically ran him over running to the bathroom!
Now that THAT little bathroom emergency was over, I could calm down enough to figure out how he finally got into the room. He was able to get the door cracked open just enough to take pliers and literally twist the security lock off it's hinges! I can't imagine the strength it took to do that, but was grateful for the rescue!
After profuse "Thank You's" to all involved, I settled down for a quick sleep. The next morning I told my crew what had happened. They couldn't believe it! Neither could I!
The hotel Manager told me that he had worked in hotels for 20 years, and that was a FIRST!
From time to time I think of how I was trapped on that balcony, praying for someone- anyone to come to my rescue! The young man that first heard me yell my "Help!" said he was the last of the staff to leave for the night. He would've left about an hour or so earlier, but something had detained him.
Ah yes. Life is indeed an adventure. You never know what will happen next! But no matter how bazaar the situation, everything always seems to work out!
Until next time, Happy New Year!!