"Hi, I would like to make a reservation."
"Certainly, sir," replied the clerk with a practiced smile and an elegant curl to his words. "What name can I place this reservation under?"
"Is that a first or last name, sir?"
I stood some ways from the reception desk, my gaze watchful of a door at the far corner of the lobby. I was somewhat familiar with the layout of the building thanks to the few times I've met with my cousin to organize an event or arrange a stay for a retailer visiting to review a product. As the general manager of the hotel, she had an office somewhere on an upper floor, but she often brought me down to this particular door to arrange the finer details with the floor manager. It was a small office where the manager could oversee reception and the various staff involved with their first floor services, such as concierge, retail, and the event hall. It was that last one that was of interest to me. Inside that office was a calendar with all the events for the month. I just need to get in to take a quick look. To do that, though, I need the manager to get out. Which is where Alistair came in.
"My first," said the elf with a bright smile.
"Very good, sir. Now what is your last name?"
"I don't have a last name."
"Pardon?" The clerk looked up from his work with a mildly baffled raise of his brow and gape of him lips. It was subtle. The hotel was the finest in the city and part of the reason they held that lofty title was because of the professionalism of the staff.
"Sorry," he said, clearing his throat and leaning in over the counter. He proceeded with a crisp, clear tone, his words drawn out, as if he were speaking to a child. "I do not have a last name."
"I heard you the first time, sir," replied the clerk with not a hint of frustration in his voice. "My difficulty is understanding the situation. You must forgive me as we don't often see people who don't have a last name. We are required to input into our system a surname as we need to know with certainty who we will be hosting in case a need arises..."
"What kind of need could you have to require a last name?" asked Alistair with a roll of his eyes. He told me he refused to lie as it went against the beliefs of the North Pole — elves must always exemplify the attributes of the nice list — but that didn't mean he wouldn't stretch the truth or add a little drama to the performance.
"In the off chance we need to identify you..."
"Why are you going around telling people who I am and where I'm at?" scoffed the elf.
"I'm not saying that this would happen to you, sir, but you must understand that many an unsavory character has attempted to use hotels in the past to hide from authorities due to a sense of anonymity. And..."
"Wait, are you suggesting I'm a criminal?"
"Of course not, sir. It's just..."
"Then, you shouldn't be concerned about sharing my information!"
"Yes, but it is hotel policy."
"Well, your hotel policy sounds discriminatory to me. My people don't have last names, are you telling me that your establishment won't serve people from my culture? Maybe I should just be talking to my lawyer about all this."
"Sir, please, let's just take a step back." The clerk had his hands up in surrender, when he lowered them, I noticed a movement that seemed to indicate a button had been pressed behind the desk. Alistair had said all the right words to escalate the issue straight to the top. "I've called my manager, he should be out shortly..." And on cue the door opened and the manager strutted out with a wide smile and an offered hand.
YOU ARE READING
Jessica Sullivan knows what Christmas is all about -- sales. For her, the best present on Christmas Day is a sales report showing her shoes have sold well beyond expectations, capping off another successful year as a bright star in the fashion indus...