Check In

Check In

Check In
by Bob Bekins
July 2019
There were twelve computer stations at the front desk of the mega hotel. Here, the guest of this massive 1,496 room property would check in. None had yet because this was opening day. I was on the west terminal quietly “blocking rooms“ as I filled the special request for guests who wanted everything from non-smoking accommodation to a room near the ice machine. My head was down as I worked assigning rooms up and down the 35 story hostelry.

At the other end of the long counter excitement and anticipation grew. There Anna and Shannon would soon be checking in the hotel’s first official guest, Mr. Surl Kim. He was one of the biggest Asian tour operators in California. The media was coming as well.   Anna and Shannon were naturally adorable, but they added professional touches to their cuteness with perfect haircuts, make up, and manicures. They would be stationed under the Westin Bonaventure logo in anxious anticipation of Mr. Kim‘s arrival.   It was planned that there he would check in and get the first key. The girls were giggling with enthusiasm.

Then we heard the commotion. Mr. Kim was  in the building heading down the escalator from the main entrance on Figueroa Street. He was not alone. Accompanied by over 100 journalist and photographers, Mr. Kim had little control over this historic moment.  Seconds later I looked up, and he was standing in front of ME. I quickly glanced at the duty manager’s office on my right. There Jim Milenberg mouthed “check him in.“

So I did. That night I was on the 6 o’clock news on every television station in Los Angeles. At the other end of the desk stood two very disappointed young ladies looking daggers my way. One can only imagine what their thoughts were when they saw my photo on the second page of the LA Times the next morning. I would have felt the same way if the conditions were reversed.

Things happen in life over which we have no control.  In the same way we cannot direct the emotions of others around us. We can only do the best at which we were trained. Sometimes we do it without make up and special lighting, but we should always do what we can with what the world throws in front of us.

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