A recent story about a hotel housekeeper in Miami who found $6,000 in cash left behind in a guestroom got a former hotel manager thinking about items guests are likely to forget and leave behind.
Daniel Edward Craig decided to pay a visit to a hotel’s housekeeping department to see what was kicking around in the Lost and Found. He found boxes and boxes of guest belongings, most of which looked like junk left behind on purpose, but he knew from experience that hotel staff do a lot of dumpster diving looking for things guests have left, so hotels are careful about what may suddenly be missed and deemed as valuable.
While perusing the collection, a staff member added a very large bra to the mix, saying that happens all the time. Asked what other things guests leave behind, staff listed off everything from the trivial – toiletries, toothbrushes, CDs, adapters – to the treasured – jewellery, laptops, iPods, passports, USB sticks, clothing and prescriptions. One guest left behind an $800 bottle of Crystal champagne. It might have made for a fun staff party had he not picked it up – two years later.
Sex toys are another popular leave-behind, probably because they’re usually hidden out of sight, in a drawer or under the bed. Apparently guests never call back looking for those.
If items left behind in hotel rooms are an indication of what travellers are up to on the road, Craig says partners and spouses have good reason to be nervous. In the Lost and Found log book he found records of a whip, pornographic materials, a nurse’s uniform, a wig, a stethoscope and narcotics. Then again, he also found business books, language tapes and a Bible.
What should you do if you leave something behind in a hotel? Call the hotel immediately and ask about it. If they can’t find it, be patient and persistent; sometimes items are temporarily misplaced, but eventually they should show up. The hotel will arrange to mail it back to you.
Since most of us are inclined to leave something behind that we’d appreciate having returned, the nice thing to do is always leave a tip for the housekeeper. By the way: Craig reports that people were so moved by the honesty and difficult personal circumstances of the Miami housekeeper who found the $6,000 and turned it in, that she later received donations exceeding the amount she found.