Monday, August 06, 2012

How I Scared Myself Silly and Learned A Lesson

It was Saturday night and I went for one more walk in New York. I went to the bank ATM and then bought a salad. I was trying to figure out how to pack my stuff preparing to head back home.

I went back to my room. I put everything on the bed and started packing. It didn't fit. I thought maybe if I went to the 24 Duane Reed store I could by a box or something. I walked out of the door and as soon as it closed I knew my wallet was on the other side.

Stupid, stupid I said to myself as I stood in the lobby waiting for the hotel clerk. All I had was my BlogHer badge. The clerk explained that she needed a photo id card.

The clerk called security and a gentleman walked me back to my room; opened the door and I head for the center of the bed where I thought I left my wallet.

It wasn't there. I'm feeling all over the bed and in my suitcase. Not there.

We go back downstairs to the security office. My mind is trying to think but the fear is blocking the connections. How am I going to get home? Where is my wallet? My god, the ATM card is in my wallet too.

The main security dude ask me questions. Exactly where did I go when I left the hotel? What did I do next? How did I get back into the room? In the meantime it was suggested that I cancel my credit card.

Did you put it in the room safe? No. (I didn't because I have a fear of forgetting the combination. Stupid, stupid and in hindsight, dumb.)

In my head I was bouncing in terror. How was I going to pay the hotel bill? Get to JFK? Get out of LAX? How do I prove I am who I say I am?

Dragnet time. I understood, he didn't know me from nothing. The security dude kept asking the same questions and slowly the logic portion of my brain came back over the fear.  I had to prove what I was saying was the truth. 

I had to have the card to get back into the room. I knew my wallet was in the room but I couldn't put together what happened. No one was around me to be able to take my wallet. How did I get into the room if I didn't have it?

I asked that I return to the room one more time with the security guard. If it wasn't there then I would cancel the card.

In the elevator, I heard TexasBeth say that it was a great fashion show. I told her what happened. I remember her telling me her room number if I needed help. I really appreciated that but I was in find it mode. I was in a bad fix and my mind was trying to remember.

The door opened and I hit that bed like my life depended on it. I touched everything. I found my wallet in one of the handbags. I had forgotten that I switched the handbag when I went out.

I truly didn't remember. (Insert maximum amount of cussing myself, I ripped myself a new seam of pain.) Really a bad time to have a midlife moment of mental blankness.

I started crying like a fountain in relief. I apologized to the guard multiple times. He backed out of the room. The main security guy radioed back for him to to check my photo ID.

No problem, I wanted to show him and anybody at that hotel I was who I said I was. It was like being on the other side of CSI. I could prove I wasn't the bad person.

After he left I started crying again. I was so angry with myself. I wasn't leaving that room again until I checked out of the hotel.

Let me stress that the Hilton hotel security was professional, kind and they had to balance trying to help versus allowing some woman enter a hotel room she can't prove she belonged in or trying to skip out on the bill.

Lessons Learned

That radical acceptance thing has to kick in. This is the situation you are in, deal with it and figure it out later. I had to lean on what I knew was right for me versus what the security guy was telling me to do which was to cancel my card.

In this case I lucked out. But what if it had been stolen? I needed to be ready to find a way to make it right. To tell the truth, I didn't have a clue where to begin.

If you can't afford to lose it keep it home. I didn't need to have both my credit card and ATM card. I could have pulled cash before the trip and use the card for day to day expenses.

Use the hotel safe. They probably have a master key to open it if you forget the combination.

Have a back-up person at home that you can contact if you need some help.

I'm grateful how it work out.  I'll travel with more awareness and self-protection next time. Also will invest in brain boosters. 

PS - I did manage to pack everything in the suitcase and two handbags. I got double screened at TSA but I made it home to tell the tale.


  1. OMG and here I was worrying that you didn't ask me for help mailing your stuff back. I hope you know you could have called me if you were in any kind of jam.

    I'm glad it all worked out in the end.

    (And I'll admit to a brief moment of panic last time BlogHer was in NYC and TW lost her iPhone/wallet. I had NO IDEA how we would have gotten her home if it hadn't turned up. TOTAL panic mode for about three minutes.)

    1. Pride go before the fall. If I had accepted I wouldn't have locked myself out of the room. Then again, I wouldn't have learned a serious lesson about travel safety.

      I have problems about accepting help. I need to get over that but learning not to tear myself up for making a mistake needs to take priority. I love both you and TW for being at the conference. It meant a lot and some day I'll tell you why. Maybe at #10.