"Boss, some guest just shot himself in his room" shouted Dave, our Duty Manager, has he whizzed past my office. "Cops are on the way, please meet them on the front drive and bring them up to 1006, I am going up to the room!" Working in Kansas City in 1999 was one adventure after the next.
Minutes later the police arrived at the entrance, and as instructed I escorted them to level 10. They asked me what I knew, which was not much at all, and when we reached level 10, both officers withdrew their guns from the holsters and started slithering down the hallway with their backs against the walls like on TV. "Is all that really necessary?" I asked as I strolled ahead down the hallway.
"Sir, we need to know if the guest's weapon has been secured". Hmm, an excellent point. Gentlemen, you go first. But when we did finally reach room 1006, and pushed open the door, the scene that greeted us was NOT at all what we were expecting.
Standing next to the desk in the room was Dave our brave duty manager, and next to him, kneeling on the ground with his pants around his ankles, was a middle aged gentleman, squealing in pain. The police descended on him with guns drawn and demanded that he started talking.
"I'm a jeweller" he stated between sobs, "and I have a gun license. I carry it because I have a briefcase full of watches and gem stones and I need to be safe." He pointed at the bed, where we saw one briefcase, and one small handgun. "The gun was in my pocket, and I was going to the bathroom, and when I pulled down my pants, the gun accidentally discharged, and I shot myself in the foot. So I crawled over to the desk phone on my knees, called for help, and have been kneeling here waiting ever since."
So in we went to the bathroom to look for the signs of a gunshot: gun powder, a bullet, blood, anything ... and found nothing. The bathroom was perfectly clean. The police propped the guest up on the bed and said "show us where you shot yourself in the foot exactly sir." And the guest pointed down to his left tennis shoe, a white leather shoe which appeared to be in perfect condition and un-damaged. This was now officially weird.
The ambulance and emergency medical technicians arrived minutes later, and after hearing the story, decided to cut the shoe off with a razor to have a closer look. So off came the shoe, and out poured a shoe-full of blood onto the carpet. The shoe was brought to the bathroom for further examination as the guest continued to shriek and moam. Closer inspection revealed that indeed a small hole was made at the top of the shoe, but apparently after the bullet passed through, the leather popped back into place, making the hole nearly invisible. But still, we could not find the bullet. It wasn't in the shoe, and it wasn't on the floor in the bathroom....and then, it occurred to all of us. The bullet had to be still lodged in the guest's foot. And yes, it was, and thus up onto the stretcher he went, down the hallway, down the elevator, and through the lobby to the awaiting ambulance.
The irony of this entire situation was that on the day this occurred, the hotel was hosting a large national conference of ambulance drivers and EMTs, ALL of whom thought this was "only a drill". As the guest was being wheeled through the lobby, the conference attendees began clapping and saying "well done!" and "only 7 minutes, excellent! Great job!" Seems they had been timing the whole thing. If they only knew...
About Steve Cokkinias
Steve Cokkinias is the Founder & CEO of InnSense Leadership (www.innsense.com) which he established in 2012 after a successful 17-year career in the hospitality industry that included senior positions with Ritz-Carlton, Westin, and Sheraton in the U.S.A, Caribbean, and Asia. An inspiring and sought-after speaker and executive coach, Steve has delivered energizing programs on service, leadership, and talent management to a wide range of international companies. During his 9 years as General Manager in Kuala Lumpur, his hotel was named "Best Employer in Malaysia" 4 times consecutively by Hewitt & Associates, earning him a place on Human Capital Asia's "Hot 40 - Asia's H.R. Superstars". In 2010, Steve was named Malaysia's "General Manager of the Year" by the Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards. His new book, "InnSanity - Leadership Lessons from a Lifetime in Luxury Lodging", is due for release in early 2013. Steve can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow Steve on Twitter: @stevecokkinias.