Oh, I realize the headline will make this case look like a really bad Twilight sequel. (Is there any other kind?) But I’m serious, and so is Ed Lawrence, the victim.
Lawrence was a recent guest at a La Quinta property in Austin, Tex. — a chain, he says, that has “decent” service and was close to the his work site.
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Last night I woke up around midnight. I wasn’t sure why I woke up, but I must have felt some irritation because my left shoulder felt itchy.
I got up to visit the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and saw blood on my shoulder, along with a nice big welt.
His first thought? Bed bugs.
I wiped the shoulder, put on a T-shirt and called the front desk. I requested they change every pillow and linen in the room the next day.
I wondered if I should change rooms. Should I sleep in the other bed?
I decided to put on a T-shirt and simply went back to bed. And I tried not to worry.
OK, timeout! He put the shirt back on and went to bed? Seriously?
Actually, I can believe that. Imagine being woken up at 2 a.m. Your first thought — maybe your only thought — is falling back into bed. I mean, it’s not as if you’re being lowered into a pit of vipers, Indiana Jones-style. It’s just a bite.
Still. I might have considered changing rooms.
The next morning, I went down to breakfast and spoke directly to the front-desk person. He was the person who took my call at midnight. He said he would follow my request.
He asked if I wanted to change rooms. I declined for the moment, but wonder if I should have.
If there are bed bugs, would I have many bites? If there are bugs in this room, would they be in other rooms?
Lawrence emailed me from the hotel and asked what I would do. I told him to get medical attention.
The hotel promised instead that it would change all the linen and inspect the room. A hotel employee told him if bed bugs were found, they would move him to another room.
When I returned at 5 p.m., I checked at the front desk. They told me they had changed all the linens and they had inspected the room. They found no bugs. They still offered to let me change rooms, and they gave me 50 percent off the previous night’s stay.
I stayed in the same room and encountered no problems.
So what was it? A bed bug? A spider? Fleas? No one knows.
“As long as nothing else bites me,” he says, “I don’t mind not knowing.”
Did Lawrence do the right thing by staying in the room and letting the hotel change linens? Or should he have insisted on a room change and a doctor’s visit?
More importantly, was La Quinta’s response appropriate?