Hampton Inn Calls Cops On Black Family Using Pool

Filed Under: Hilton, Hotels

Update: Hilton is now facing a lawsuit over another incident that occurred at a Hampton Inn property in North Carolina, where a black family had the cops called on them over a billing dispute.

Hampton Inn is apologizing after a family staying at a hotel had the cops called on them for using the pool. The incident occurred over the weekend at the Hampton Inn in Williamston, North Carolina, and the employee involved in this is “no longer employed at the hotel.”

In the nearly 10 minute video posted online, you can see a Hampton Inn employee and two police officers approaching a woman who was staying at the hotel with her two kids.

Based on the guest’s version of what happened:

  • A hotel employee came to the pool and asked the mother if they were staying at the hotel; she didn’t ask the two other people at the pool (who were white) to prove they were staying there
  • The guest showed the employee a room key; the employee then wanted the room number, but the guest refused to provide it
  • The employee allegedly said “it’s always people like you using the pool unauthorized”
  • The employee called the cops on the family
  • The cops then requested the guest’s name and identification; she refused, so they said they’d run her plate, since her car was parked outside
  • The hotel employee told the cops “my boss said she’s not allowed to not tell us her name and room number, and she’s having the general manager come over”
  • Eventually the family just walked back to their room

Here’s the video that was uploaded to YouTube:

Here’s what Shruti Gandhi Buckley, the Global Head of Hampton by Hilton, had to say:

“Hampton by Hilton has zero tolerance for racism or discrimination of any kind. On Saturday, we were alerted to an online video of a guest incident at one of our franchise properties. We moved quickly to identify the hotel and the guest, so that we could make contact and review the matter.

Even as we communicated our expectations to the ownership and management of the Williamston property on Sunday, we learned that the team member is no longer employed at the hotel. We have apologized directly to the guest and her family for their experience, and will work with them and the hotel to make this right. We remain in contact with the hotel’s ownership about follow up actions, and to ensure that in the future, their employees reflect the best values of our brand and are welcoming of all.”

Unfortunately this is just another case of racism in our country. Fortunately these kinds of incidents are starting to get more attention, and we’re seeing swifter punishment for this kind of behavior, as it should be.

I’m sure some people will be along shortly to say “well if she didn’t want any trouble she should have given them her name and room number.”

I’d ask those people when the last time was that they were singled out at a hotel pool and asked to prove they were staying there, while other guests weren’t. Not only that, but she presented a key, and rather than backing down, the employee decided to double down and then request her room number.

Good on Hampton Inn for taking quick action here to address the situation, and also that the employee is no longer working at the hotel.

Comments
  1. I would have provided my room number and then asked to speak to the manager immediately and make a complaint as well as one to Hilton corporate.

  2. @ Duck Ling — I’m curious, do you think the manager would have taken the situation seriously if it hadn’t escalated like this? Do you think corporate would have taken this seriously if there weren’t a viral video involving the policy?

    Because I would certainly assume the answer would be “no” and “no.” I wish it hadn’t gotten to the point where the cops had to be called, but I think the long-term benefit of this guest recording the whole situation is that this became a much more teachable moment, and the same mistake is much less likely to be made.

  3. ” He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile at a Time “.

    Even though this story is sad and unfortunate that this still happens today, how does this relate to travel? I can get this article on Yahoo. This isn’t even a story about Hampton Inn except for one terrible employee.

  4. The police never believe us over any white person. The hotel was fine taking her money. She showed the room key. What else do they need? It’s like we have to prove ours legitimacy every where we go. A frustrating video.

  5. How is this related to aspirational travel by using miles/points? You really are scraping the bottom of the barrel. And it looks ugly.

  6. @ Roman — This relates to travel because (unfortunately) this kind of treatment is something many people have to deal with when traveling…

  7. I’m a minority, and I get asked many things, like what I’m doing here/there, if I live here, etc.. Yes it’s annoying, but I generally respond/comply and/or provide id or keycard or whatever. It is just not worth my time arguing with them. I rather talk to the manager and or take my business elsewhere. But I do understand why she would act that way, there is no reason for her to accept this BS if she doesnt wan’t to.

    BTW is not just race. My Polish wife often gets asked if she is a guest of the hotel when she is waiting for me\hanging at the lobby.

  8. If this lady was profiling based on race, that’s awful, but we don’t have the full story here.

    Perhaps there were actual legitimate reasons the question this particular guest having [i]nothing[/i] to do her race. It seems they knew exactly which car was hers, so perhaps the employee just witnessed the car approach from the road and head directly to the pool. Or perhaps there was only a small number of guests registered at the hotel and the employee believed she knew of all of them.

    I’d like to get the full story here, but this article has jumped the gun when coming to conclusions.

  9. @ Matt — Because sometimes I think it’s worth stepping back from the privilege I benefit from when it comes to seamless “aspirational” travel to highlight some of the issues other travelers face. If you think that “looks ugly,” then, well… too bad?

  10. @Matt and @Roman. Not your blog, not your rules. You’re free to read anything you want. These stories need to be in every single place possible (as often as possible) so that there’s no one claiming ignorance because they choose to block out “the news”. Not an option anymore. Good luck finding a hole to stick your head in. If you happen to support trump, I hope you suffocate if you do find one.

  11. I’m a hotel GM at a brand that’s similar to Hampton – you’d be surprised at how many locals (of any race) break into the pool area in a given year. Generally it’s not during the day, or if it is then they’re barbecuing. I only kick people out if they’ve got glass containers or it’s a lot of people (locals will also rent a single room and invite over 20 kids for birthday parties). Not sure why this woman wouldn’t just give her room number.

    Just recently I asked a white homeless guy his room number and he couldn’t provide it, because he wasn’t a guest, and kicked him out of our breakfast buffet.

    Hotels run into a lot of issues like that. Locals show up and rent rooms to do things they can’t do at home – cheat, do drugs, party, etc etc. It’s why almost every hotel takes a significant incidental hold at check in.

  12. Does this property have a history or recurring problem of unauthorised usage of its facilities?

  13. Glad to see this being covered. This IS relevant to travel – this industry is definitely has race issues (racism), and until we call it out, it will be allowed to continue. We can only stop it when we know its there.

    @Colin – minorities being considered suspect is a widespread issue, in hotels, in stores, in NYC streets. There’s no need to hem and haw and hope there are “extenuating circumstances.”

  14. Thanks for posting this story and others like it, Ben. Appreciate that you don’t “both sides” it, either.

  15. I am asked occasionally (as in not every day and sometimes not at all on a 10 day stay) to provide my name and room number, not just a key card at a Hilton property where all registered guests are entitled to free breakfast, in order to access the dining area. I have never had an escalation of this magnitude, then again I never refused a reasonable request to verify that I am registered guest, not just holding a key card from a past stay.

  16. So OMAAT has gone from writing reviews of hotels to outing hotel employees, on a “travel” blog.

    As if things aren’t bad enough right now, you want to throw more gasoline on the fire. Did I miss the postings where you outed black employees? Hoping to start a race riot, Ben?

  17. Handled very poorly by staff and LEO

    Unfortunate that she didn’t press “record” prior to the white couple’s departure

  18. It has everything to do with travel and living in America (elsewhere, as well) while black or a person of color that is not white. People need realize the burdens that others face and how reprehensible it is to be discriminated against because of factors outside of their control.

    America is racist and until it is acknowledged, these types of incidents will occur. These incidents have consequences for the people exposed to them and must have consequences for those engaging in them, for things to change. If not now, when?

  19. @ Vernon Demerest — And in those cases where you were asked for your room info, were you specifically singled out? Or were they asking everyone?

  20. All the people asking what this has to do with travel. You are simply part of the problem. I Suggest you do some self reflection.

    Thanks Lucky for posting this it is completely relevant. I can vouch that this is reality of what many black travelers face at both luxury and budget properties. There is often an extra level of scrutiny for black customers.

  21. @TheRealBabushka, the problem is that even if they do have problems with unauthorized use, the only people they questioned about their presence was the black family. If they had done a check of all people in the pool area at the time, this would not be a big deal.

  22. Sorry to hear about your disappointing experience at Hampton Inn By Hilton. We understand you had trouble using the pool. As a gesture of our goodwill we have added 500 HHonors points to your account. See you again soon!

  23. Thanks for posting this. It is relevant, especially to people like me. As a brown skinned younger man, this has happened to me a few times at higher-end hotels / resorts where I was the only non-white.

  24. Ben thank you for posting. The content is very relevant for a travel site. As someone who is fortunate to not experience discrimination well traveling, it is important to be reminded that it is common for portions of our global population to experience discrimination when traveling. That is why there are specific travel advocacy organizations for groups which experience discrimination, to name a few types of groups there are some that promote disability, sexual orientation, skin color, and religious affiliation travel in attempt to make it more assessable to their members.

  25. @John. Good point.

    So the next time an airport security or airline staff member profile passengers, we can expect an equally robust response from the airline/airport?

  26. As an AfroLatino man this hits close to home, to the point I had to comment. I travel for a living, I have, experienced this most recently in Cuba and the DR (pre pandemic). It is a terrible feeling, to get asked for your room information while the white people you are with just walk on by. That being said, I provide my room key, number if asked and a copy of my passport and then inquire if there is an issue.

  27. @Ben – I have no idea, guests wanting to access breakfast stand in a line and approach a hostess stand to be seated, I cant hear the conversation that takes place with every guest ahead and behind me. Some times the hostess is busy trying to seat guests and keep the line moving and she will just gesture for parties of different sizes to go to specific tables, other days she is at the podium, the name checks seem to occur on slower days. The hostess has a manifest of registered guests. My point is if you are looking to have confrontation you will find it, if you wish to enjoy the facilities you are paying for as guest, you may just have to say “Demerest, room 712”.

  28. I can only imagine how tiring it must be to be Black, to be constantly asked to justify your presence or very existence in hotels and restaurants and public spaces in ways large and small that white people rarely are, and then come to this blog and see people like Vernon saying “just go along with it, otherwise you’re seeking confrontation.”

  29. SS_Flyer: I was with you until you decided to go down the political profiling path. Don’t assume just because someone is a dofus that they support a particular party or candidate. There are bad apples on both sides of the aisle.

  30. Given Lucky’s well-chronicled months-long anguished journey to step out of his house to travel…I was half-expecting this post to be a COVID travel-shaming post.

    I mean given NC’s Covid situation, how can the pool be open? How dare the family travel, much less put themselves in such a risky situation by using the pool?!?!

  31. @Ben: Not saying this is the case, it could have totally been as racist as it seems. But as far as you questioning the “being singled out, why weren’t the white people asked” part. It could totally be that the employee just checked in the other couple half an hour ago and She recognized them. Maybe the black guests checked in earlier with a different employee. Not saying that this is the case, but not every single aspect of this has to be as nefarious as possible.

  32. What is with people always asking Ben “what does this post have to with travel/points?” It is HIS blog. Even if something is only tangentially or not at all related to travel, he can write about it. Would you ask him why he wrote the post about his mother’s illness even though it is not points related?!? Seriously, no one is forcing you read every post!

    P.S. This is definitely travel related as it illuminates the kinds of issues faced when traveling which could be helpful to others in their own travels.

  33. @Vernon Demerest

    “My point is if you are looking to have confrontation you will find it…“

    The point you seem to miss/ignore is that it sometimes TAKES a confrontation to stand-up for what’s right or wrong. It’s easy for those who’ve not experienced the issue to dismiss its significance. Those who go acquiesce (“Demerest room 712”) only serve to perpetuate that thoughtlessness/disregard/racism/whatever.

    If there’s a problem with “uninvited guests” then staff should enforce the policy UNIFORMLY.

  34. @SS_Flyer Yes I’m free to read anything I want but thanks to Ben he graciously allows us to be free to post what we want as well on his site. You can go back to practicing your Nancy Pelosi clap now…

    @Zip Silver Thank you for sharing your personal perspective. Sadly I think this employee in particular was well under trained and downright insensitive to this mother and her children with her racial profiling. I personally have never thought it odd to be asked several times throughout my stay what my name is and room number while staying at a hotel.

  35. Thanks for sharing this with us, Lucky. The dissemination of this type of outrageous behavior towards people of color can’t happen often enough.

  36. It’s funny that people ask “how does this relate to travel?”. It certainly applies for those of us who have darker skin and find ourselves in the “wrong place” according to others.

    Points and Miles bloggers spend hours on “mistreatment” based upon elite status levels. Platinums who didn’t get their deserved breakfast benefits, etc. etc.

    So spending 3 minutes on mistreatment of a base benefit of staying in a paid-for room of ANY status level at a Hampton Inn is right in the wheelhouse, folks.

  37. I love how some folks , I’ll assume white people , like myself , are bothered by this sort of story being reported on this site , the fact that we are tired of reading about this injustice, further highlights how far we as a race of people have to go, if your tired of hearing about how white people treat Black people , imagine what it must be like to be black, be questioned about why your in the pool, show your hotel card, and further be questioned …… and if you watch the video , the white women tells the police officer that she remembers seeing the women’s son the previous day…. so the white women was just generally enraged that a Black women and her children were using the pool that they paid for….further, once the police realized that this was a bs call, the police officer runs the license plate / looking for a reason to arrest I assume – my fellow white people , this doesn’t happen to us, you wouldn’t accept it for yourselves, so don’t act like your bothered and find this treatment acceptable for other people / we chant all lives matter , then let’s start acting like it

  38. This clearly has to do with travel. This has to do with a very serious matter impacting our society. This is Lucky’s blog.

    And to the people whining about this post… we know you’re whining because your racist.

  39. As a frequent traveler and former hotel employee, there’s another relevant thing I haven’t seen mentioned yet: it’s considered a privacy/security risk to state your room number out loud in case others hear it. Even moreso if it’s stated alongside your last name, as anyone with knowledge of your last name and room number could charge whatever they wanted to your room and get away with it (at a Hampton Inn this would be limited to items in the marketplace in the lobby, but still). This is why when you check in, the front desk agent is *never* supposed to say out loud (for example) “you’ll be in room 301,” but rather, hand you the key packet with the room number written on it and say something like “here’s your room number, you’ll be on the third floor, elevator’s to your right” (they can say the floor, but not the specific room number). In all my travels, there’s only been a small handful of times where the agent has broken that rule, usually at lower-end properties and/or when I arrive very late and no one else is around.

    Point is, outright asking someone to state their room number out loud (especially alongside their name) in a common area of the hotel, e.g. the pool, where other guests (or non-guests) could be present, is a safety/security risk and is never okay – even if you suspect that they’re not there legitimately for whatever reason. If anything, you ask them to show a card key. If they present one, you drop the issue. Yes, they could have technically gotten it from another guest or picked one up off the ground that someone else dropped, etc., but at that point, unless they’re specifically causing problems, you assume they’re telling the truth and let it go. (If they’re specifically causing problems / breaking pool rules, you can kick them out regardless of whether or not they’re hotel guests. That doesn’t seem to be the case here; they were simply assumed to be non-guests based on their race, when the white people at the pool were not.) The woman was right to refuse to state her name and room number, especially if she felt unsafe due to being racially profiled and singled out like that.

  40. I would never announce my room number in a public place! Are y’all crazy? There’s a reason why the front desk doesn’t say your room number aloud when you check in…

    They showed her their room key. That should have been enough.

    And thanks, Lucky, for using your voice to highlight the travel frustrations of others.

  41. As a Hilton rewards member, I’ve been asked on a few occasions if I’m a guest. I politely tell them yes and continue on my way. I would never give my room # or show my key as I’m single woman that travels alone you have to be careful of your surroundings. I would have given my name and have the employee verify at the front desk. Giving a room # in front of other guests, is a safety issue especially for a single woman is traveling with children. These incidents occur frequently and aren’t publicized because it is the norm for people of color.

  42. All we know happened is what is in the video. I watched it and didn’t see or hear any evidence of any racism from the hotel employee or the cops. Lots of accusations of racism from the lady, but no evidence..

  43. @ Virginia and macsmom71: We’re apparently all on the same wavelength at the same exact minute! All noticing that no one’s mentioned the giant issue that you should never give or be asked to give your room number out loud for safety reasons, and jumping in to fix it at the same time. Love little things like that, lol

  44. @Virginia – I would say every hotel I’ve ever checked in in my life, the front desk agent told me my room number out loud (I don’t mean screaming, but audibly). I don’t think they use sign language to let the guests know which room they were assigned.

  45. I wonder how many times we all make judgements without knowing the whole story. Did the hotel employee possibly witness the family’s car pull up and wonder if they were not guests? If that is the case would she have asked them for a room number regardless of the color of their skin? I don’t think we can know the answer to those questions. Perhaps the reason why the other family wasn’t asked for room number was because the employee was the one who checked them in and recognized that they were hotel guests. I think it is wrong to assume racist motives on the part of the employee without getting their side of the story….the only side of the story we have is from the aggrieved family. We all need to give each other more grace. False accusations hurt all involved- white people hurt when they are falsely accused just as black people do. Misunderstandings happen and most times there is no intended malice.

  46. The people that are saying “well why didn’t she just provide her room number?” or “why is Ben posting this? Isn’t this website about travel?” are missing the point. This is a constant problem in society and I’m glad Ben has used his platform to bring racism like this to light. TPG sure doesn’t. Whether you are entering your apartment building, hotel or any other establishment, the verbiage along the lines of “do you belong here?” should not be coming out of people’s mouths. Racism exists in this country, always has. This situation could has escalated further than it did. And if you don’t believe that, read the news.

  47. I’m a clean-cut Asian American professional. Hotel staff approaching me in amenity areas have asked me to confirm my room number. I’ve never thought twice before providing it to them. But I guess I’ve been racially profiled. Even when this has happened not only in the USA, but in Asia itself. F-ing racists.

  48. Fair enough post regarding your view of racism in America, but when will you hire a black writer for your blog, or any person of color for that matter?

  49. @Luis: wow, maybe you should up your game on hotel choices. This blog will definitely help!

    (Usually no sign language is necessary to tell folks their room number. The hint to which room you’re in is the number on the little key card folder the front desk agent will hand you )

    Happy travels.

  50. @Luis – like I said in my own post above, they’re supposed to write it down on the key packet, then say something like “this is your room number, you’ll be on the ___ floor” and direct you to the elevator/room. I’m a frequent traveler (Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Platinum, and leftover Hilton Diamond from a status match) and a former hotel employee myself (front desk, all shifts but mostly night audit), and that’s rule #1 when checking guests in: you never say the room number out loud.

    Also graduated with a bachelor’s in hospitality and tourism management among other degrees, and this point was hammered home multiple times. It’s standard and well-known across the industry. If an employee did that when a “secret shopper” from corporate was staying there, they’d be fired practically on-the-spot. I’m not sure what hotels you’ve been staying at, but they need better training.

  51. Thank you for posting this. And I too would be very happy to hear some more diverse voices writing for you

  52. People here in the comments keep asking “How is this story related to travel?” Are you serious? The family is staying at a hotel. That IS travel.

    Hilton has lost face. Embarrassing situation handled poorly by that staff member. Kudos to the woman for filming and posting it. We need more videos like this.

    I will say one light hearted thing: it was nice to see the daughter still swimming away and having fun in that pool like a kid is supposed to even as the cops harassed her mom.

  53. @Chris W – I guess I never noticed. Obviously the room number is written on the little envelope, but I feel like they always audibly told me my room number as well. I will pay attention next time I check in to a hotel, whenever that might be. FWIW, I’ve traveled all over the world staying in some of the nicest hotels and recall always being told my room number. If this is a known hotel management policy to not say the room number, then I’m happy to admit that I’m probably wrong.

  54. Lot of racists here in the comments section. Don’t ever listen to the voices telling you to “stick to X”. It’s been refreshing watching you leverage your platform to shut down racism and homophobia. Keep going Ben. Racists don’t deserve a platform and sure don’t deserve employment.

  55. Incredible that there are so many posters here that are making comments to the effect of “This is not relevant to your blog”. Or “She should have just told the employee her name and room number”.
    Thanks for being part of the problem.

    And thanks, Lucky, for reminding me why I don’t visit the south, except for required work travel, and why I will never spend even one of my tourism dollars there.

  56. It’s nice to be able to tune out all the “racial non-sense”. Too bad some races can’t tune out the bullets or knees used to suffocate them.

    If you’re white and don’t have to deal with this, consider yourself lucky, but don’t be a prick and tell other people “it’s not related to travel”. For some, it’s related to every aspect of their live, and it’s not by choice.

  57. Once your eyes are open to the racism around you, you’ll begin to realize how pervasive it is.

    You are more privileged, if you have to learn about it rather than experience it. On the other hand, there are none so blind as who refuse to see and those who fail to learn from previous mistakes are doomed to repeat them.

  58. Pitting your base against each other. Lovely. This blog used to be such an escape for me. Politics have invaded the news, social media, sports, movies…. What about those of us who just want to think about something other than racism every once in a while?

    Also, why aren’t you addressing sex trafficking? Child abuse? Drug abuse? One could make a very rational argument that all of these things are much bigger problems in our country. Just sticking to what’s trendy I suppose.

  59. @Luis – Admittedly, my experience is limited to US hotels. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be a standard internationally. But in the US, I could probably count on one hand how many times I’ve been told the room number out loud – I always notice since I was specifically trained not to, but it’s usually in a context where it wouldn’t really matter anyway (e.g. late at night, no one around). And despite my hotel status, I’m (relatively) young and give off a pretty laid-back vibe, which kinda puts them at ease and lets them know I’m not gonna make a big deal if they don’t follow all the formalities…but I still feel better if they follow that one, lol.

    (And I’m a white male, so the potential safety/security issues of saying it out loud don’t affect me as much as they would someone else, which makes me more okay with it – but not if they did it to, say, a single woman checking in.)

  60. @Sel, D.

    What did you think this article was going to be about based on the title? If you don’t want to read it, don’t click it. Have you considered what about the Black folks who want the luxury of escaping racism once in a while?

  61. Shout-out to Ben for posting this travel related article. What happened to this hotel guest and her children at the hands of the Hampton Inn employee and General Manager (and Williamston police) is both shameful and inexcusable. And based on some of the comments here, white privilege is absolutely real, and so too is #BLM.

  62. Did anyone else notice that the left front tire on her car was crossed over the parking line into a handicapped spot? It’s terrible that her kids had to go through this – that was pretty upsetting – and yes, she is justified in being outraged. It just bothers me when seeing people disregard the boundaries of handicapped parking spaces.

  63. While I appreciate the struggle that POC go through, in the video, we only see what happened after the Police arrived. What transpired between the hotel employee before the police were called? We are in the middle of a pandemic. I have traveled several times since the country has been on lockdown. Every hotel I have stayed in the pools have been closed. Why has no one mentioned this? Maybe the white couple that wasn’t approached, (in the videographers time frame anyway) was approached before the woman and her children were at the pool? What if they were not approached because they didn’t have on swim attire?
    While I sympathize with POC for racism in America, is everything racist these days?
    We need context for everything? I truly hope the woman and her children are not permanently traumatized by the treatment from the hotel employee. Maybe all hotels, restaurants and all travel and hospitality businesses will implement extra sensitivity training in the near future
    Hope

  64. The employee who asked should get punished. No excuse on asking a black family and not a white family. (who isn’t nowhere to be seen from YouTube)
    I understand the property reserves their right to who can use their pool so they should have asked everyone there.
    The bigger problem here is actually the cops!!!!! Please watch YouTube.
    I don’t think the cops have any grounds to harass for getting the name or ID of the woman.
    As far as I can see, she didn’t clearly commit any crime so I don’t think cops should keep asking for ID at all after the first request is denied by the woman.
    Please watch the YouTube and focus on the law enforcement not Hampton Inn.
    Imagine the trauma on the 2 kids. They will grow up to oppress the system and hate cops.
    This will go on for decades.

    However, unrelated to this incident.
    As of June 2020
    Race card just got another upgraded benefit. You can now unlock any hotel pools.
    After you are done with the pool, Pass Go and Collect $200.
    Return the card so others can (ab)use this card again.

  65. Why should a woman have to compromise her safety by letting everyone in earshot know what her room number is? Not acceptable.

    Also, it’s a stupid question because it’s not as if the hotel employee has the computer there to check names/room #s.

    Also, what if she’s the wife/GF of the registered guest with a different last name or adult #2, and her name is not on the reservation but she’s still a valid guest with a room key?

  66. I’ve been asked for my room number innumerable times when I’ve used a hotel’s facilities. Perhaps the employee was exhibiting racial bias. Perhaps she recognized the other guests. Perhaps she was poorly trained/managed. More importantly, was there a noose in the guest’s room? Enquiring minds want to know.

    Hanlon’s Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

  67. @Sel, I don’t think anyone’s being pitted against each other. I, too, would like to live in a world where racism isn’t on the news all the time and making its way into everyday life. I wish I didn’t have to think about it all the time.

    But like others have noted, some of us don’t have the luxury of being able to tune it out. It really isn’t politics…it’s real life, and all aspects of it are affected if you aren’t white.

    In short, I want racism to be able to stop being in the news not because they decide to go back to turning a blind eye to it, but because it finally stops being an issue. But as long as it’s happening, it’s our duty to point it out and fight it.

    MLK talked about the difference between a “passive peace” and “active peace.” Passive peace is when there’s suffering, oppression, and injustice in the world, but the oppressed simply shut up, smile, and deal with it so as to not stir the pot and upset the folks with more power (and the folks with power surely aren’t fighting for the oppressed either – in fact, they may not even believe it to be an issue at all). Active peace is where you might have to upset the balance at first, but you achieve a state without systemic oppression and injustice, where everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive, and from which society as a whole benefits in the long term. That’s the one I want.

    Those other things you mentioned – “sex trafficking? Child abuse? Drug abuse?” – are also definitely big issues. I’m sure if a travel-industry-related incident involving those things made the news, like a sex trafficking ring operating at a hotel getting busted, Lucky would cover that, too. The difference is, everyone already knows those things are bad, and wouldn’t try to argue that (e.g.) maybe it was just a misunderstanding and those alleged sex traffickers were fine people (lord, at least I hope not). But every time a blatant incident of racism happens, people always start saying that. The more of these incidents that are exposed, the harder it gets to see all these connecting dots and claim there’s not really a pattern here.

    That’s why it’s good when people like Lucky shed light on these things: it makes people more informed, which should make us more united, not divided. We *all* want racism to stop being all over the news. But not until it stops being all over real life. It’s mentally exhausting and makes us uncomfortable. But we *should* be uncomfortable as long as it’s happening. People are literally dying because of it.

    I’ll end this comment with a Jon Stewart quote from many years ago that still sticks in my mind to this day: “You’re tired of *hearing* about racism? Imagine how f—ing exhausting it is *living* it.”

  68. @cargocult

    Hanlon’s Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

    BLM: Hanlon is a white racist.

  69. @Hope asking the question “is everything racist these days” is borne of blind white privilege. Its along the same line of “how could they not stand and respect our flag”.. Simple, the flag historically hasn’t meant the same to POC as it have to white America. Like for instance when the black veterans returned from war and were refused service at the lunch counter due to the color of their skin..

  70. To be so individualistic in nature as Americans, I’m surprised we don’t mind our business more. The employee asked if the individual was a guest; she showed a hotel key. Frankly, if she could procure one to give her kids a swim – even is she wasn’t a guest – good for her. If the property was trying to social distance or control capacity, ask everyone (quietly) to verify their room number. And don’t get me started on calling the police on things that don’t cause even the remotest of harm to life, liberty or property.

    As mid-30s black man who isn’t always dressed like a Lands’ End model, I remember two back-to-back stays last fall where I got questioned, queried for a key card and then my room number. Once at the Rosewood Montecito and then again at Shutters. My response is always, “I’m on camera, and you can watch me enter my suite. If you still need to chat, you can send the manager on duty and security up.” It crazy that I already know how to respond for my piece of mind and security.

  71. Thank you for posting this. I admire that you took the time on a leisure site to share something that could help other white people understand their privilege. It’s not comfortable, and it is disappointing how many people just immediately went to “I would have just given my room number” and skipped any and all steps to understand how this is wrong when the other white people at the pool were not interrogated. I think that’s a key fact that is overlooked so easily, so conveniently, so swiftly, without regard for another point of view.

    So many people are just itching to find a way to dismiss these stories, comb over why the black person could possibly in any way at all be at fault, and not simply stop and listen and take in this information. If you are tired of hearing so many stories right now, imagine how tired you would be if that is YOUR STORY EVERY DAY. How tired you would be if you were harassed by Karen’s daily or pulled over weekly. UNEQUAL treatment is the problem here and this mother made it known that she was not ok with being treated unfairly.

    Thank you again, I really appreciate that you are showing the uncomfortable truths here.

  72. Dear Hilton (Hampton Inn),

    how unprofessional, immoral, and unethical of you! Oh since this hotel Is in NC, how unchristian of you too, Jesus wouldn’t approve. Allow me to present you with this Katana, so you can commit Hara Kiri in public!!!

  73. If you are going to ask one person to prove they are staying at the hotel, you need to ask everyone unless you specifically saw someone sneaking in a side door or something.

    I understand the reluctance to yell out your room number but showing a room key isn’t exactly proof of staying there. I’ve heard stories of people keeping room keys and then using them later to get into hotels for parties and stuff. Now if there was a simple key swipe on a pool gate that would have been sufficient in my opinion (I’m assuming they do change those periodically).

    It is sad how often it is a white person who has to question everything about a black person. Stuff like “Hey he’s breaking in the house next door! Uh no, he lives there.” Etc. etc. Clearly things are messed up with some people.

  74. For those persons present in the comments asking what this has to do with travel – this is an incident regarding a hotel. This blog writes about how to get places (airlines predominantly, but also cars for hire, trains, etc.) and where to stay (hotels, airbnb, etc.). This blog seeks to inform you of events and happenings within that portfolio of ‘travel’. Why?

    So you can make up your mind about how you travel, with which companies.

    It is not outlandish to suggest that people will be disinclined to stay with a property after learning of an incident like this. That lands the post squarely in the defined area that the blog focuses on.

    Ben has never claimed to limit his blog to trip reports or formal reviews of service, and I’m certain he’d appreciate each of you backing off and allowing him to define his own space, thank you very much.

    If the content isn’t to your liking (and yes, I grow weary of some of the things he posts as well) keep your mouth shut and find a different story to read or blog to enjoy. Travel news as a whole is rather limited at the moment (in the traditional context) but Ben has certainly risen to the challenge to report on world events from the perspective of travel, and I would encourage him full throatedly to continue.

    Posts about poor guest experience, regardless of being personal to him, are relevant. Posts about COVID-19 and masks in airports, hotels, and airplanes are relevant. Posts about racism, homophobia, or other unacceptable hospitality experiences are relevant. Posts about closed borders, and precautions taken by countries (or not) are relevant.

    I have yet to see Ben take a non-travel tack on any major story, and he should be commended for speaking to topics and views he considers important, while adhering to his chosen boundaries of product in doing so.

  75. @DCAFrank

    “I’m on camera, and you can watch me enter my suite.”
    I do think your method is a good basic racist deterrent, but be careful with that statement. For some reason, the ‘camera’ seems to be broken, or not working, or couldn’t capture the detail, or pointed at the wrong angle when you need them.
    Worse part is you can’t really call their bluff either.

    I never got other people’s camera to help me at all, strangely only my camera works all the time. My home camera is up and running without disruption for decades now. The only time it went offline is when I turn it off or perform maintenance.

  76. Imperial Hotel, Wien On Friday night I returned to the Hotel sort of late in the summer but before Midnight. I walked in and headed up the Grand Staircase, when I hear someone sort of yelling at me from behind. Since it wasnt in English I simply continued on my way.

    He catches up to me (mind you Im not running but walking at a normal pace). He catches up and starts talking in English, demanding to know where do I think I am going, I said its none of your business. He asks me again and I answered the same as I continued walking up the stairs. He then says hes Security. I said why didnt you say so to begin with and wheres your ID to prove it. He started saying things back in his language, got on a walkie talkie or whatever and a person who was behind the FD when I walked in came over.

    Then and only then knowing he was legit I answered Im going up to my room and my key card is locked in the safe in my room. Its then that the guy from behind The FD recognized me (I wasnt walking around like I was dressed then since I arrived 2 days before).

    I dress very casual and always wearing a baseball cap. But Friday night is The Shabbat and as a religious Jew Im in a suit and no baseball cap but a yamulka. I cant use the elevator on a Friday night so I walk up the stairs to my room. Had I not been wearing a yamulka Im positive that security guy never would have bothered with me. I asked him does the Hotel get many people dressing up like a religious Jew coming into the hotel and braking into the rooms especially on Friday nights? back to his language as he starts to walk away, I call him back wanting an answer. I knew the answer

    I ran into the same in Zurich at a few 3* hotels, I wanted to see what the rooms were like and asked if I could see 1 (not on The Shabbat), and was told sure till the woman owner said cant be done we are soldout. I asked when would it be possible she answered never we are soldout for decades to come.

    And no the year wasnt 1939, it is what it is and will never change

    Now saying White Power in America is wrong, then why is it OK to yell Black Power and raise a fist in the air. Either both are OK or both arent. And if you call me White you’re a Racist Im a European-American!

    Had the guy at The Imperial said excuse Im security blah blah blah I would have spoken to him w/o batting an eye

  77. @Eskimo for sure its a deterrent. At upscale properties like I mentioned, they quickly remember their hospitality training when checked. And at the Rosewood during that stay, a manager happen to see the interaction. She immediately took the employee to task and offered to comp breakfast the next morning.

  78. @Chris W. while I don’t agree 100% with everything you say, thank you for the measured response. That’s exactly how Ben used to write. I love the MLK reference. I wish he was around today. Racism advocates could learn a lot from him, which would help all of us.

  79. I am a loyal avid reader, however you are losing sight of what I come here for. I read your blog for travel info and that’s it. You are free to post whatever you feel, but if I want to read about a story like this I’ll look elsewhere. When someone of authority asks me for ID, I show it… period. It’s really that simple. Are BLM sponsored links in your future?

  80. The question isn’t whether you would give your room number as a guest nearly as much as would you call the cops if you were the employee based on both the key and the kids swimming. Nothing rose to that level of escalation.

  81. Poor work by the hotel staffer. Good on the lady for standing up for herself and good on the cops for not escalating the dumb call unnecessarily. In many municipalities the cops actually can compel you to disclose your identity, but the cops in this case were creative about finding a non-confrontational way to get the information they needed.

    There’s a very simple solution to this that respects everyone’s interests and feelings: wrist bands. They do this at Hyatt’s Huntington Beach location. We live close and stopped by one night, thinking poolside drinks and dinner would be nice. We weren’t staying that night. Despite our blinding whiteness and blueyed kids, within five minutes a nice well-dressed gentlemen approached us and politely asked us where our wristbands were. We told him we weren’t guests that night, we weren’t there to swim, we were Globalists, and that we just wanted to buy some expensive drinks and dinner. Lo and behold they were quite happy to let us sit and pay our money. 😀 But asking guests to wear wrist bands gives the hotel a nondiscriminatory way to decide who deserves a confrontation.

  82. @Charlie I think the thing for your to ask yourself is just how old it would get if you were being stopped and asked for identification and other small harassments seemingly every day of your life. At some point you may get tired of explaining yourself and defending yourself to people who actually don’t have the right to compel information out of you.

    As a white guy I’ve been stopped randomly at airports by cops and asked to prove the bags were mine, with no more explanation than “we’ve had a lot of thefts lately.” As a white guy I’ve had my share of extremely and unnecessarily rude cops. But in my older age I’ve realized those interactions are the exception, not the rule. Try to imagine how you’d feel if these sort of interactions were a daily or a weekly occurrence. I’ve never been prone toward performative woke activism, but I’ve come around on this issue. We have a serious problem with policing in this country and its unfortunate excesses tend to disproportionately affect some racial and economic groups.

  83. Thanks Chris W. and others for so eloquently explaining why this Hilton employee had no business taking it any further than asking for a room key to verify the family’s stay. In the interest of good customer service employees need to know how to let things go and de-escalate a potentially negative situation. And calling the police is an Immediate firing offence for such a petty situation. Not understanding what possibly could have been said to the police for them to come out to that hotel on such bogus foolishness. The very fact that they ran her license plates shows me how disgustingly racist those two cops were. They clearly were aching for something to charge the hotel guest with.

  84. @charlie… “Someone in authority”????????? By that do you mean any minimum wage person with a name badge?

    Having paid my money, I’m the person in authority, be I black, white, green or polka-dot. I can’t for the life of me believe some of the things I’m reading, not only in the article, but in some of the comments.

    I’m hardly surprised the police-calling employee is no longer an employee. What management/owner would allow the police to be called in a non-threatening situation without consulting the top-dog?

    And as for the Police? Hopefully, here in the UK, unarmed police would be less threatening to the victim. Also, hopefully, they’d have told the caller to “get a life” after a quick word with the victim or even considered charging him with abuse of police-time. [Wish I could be sure of all that].

    It’s quite right that every blog, news-site and news-consolidation feed, worldwide, starts reporting these apparent superficialities. They will continue to seem that way until we see that they’re not isolated incidents confined to small geographic areas, but a Worldwide “pandemic” that threatens our World’s mental wellbeing and community security as much as COVID threatens our physical health.

  85. Regardless of race. With all the police killings going on. Unless a person is a danger to others. I think a business should have a policy to not call the police. I really wish the victims families would start going after the business in court when they call the cops and they kill the person.

  86. Gotta love the commenters who don’t like this post because it’s “political.” Calling it political says way more about you than you realize. And what it says about you is not good.

    Thanks for the post, Ben.

  87. that family will have free stays at Hampton Inns as long as they want. It is in the interest of Hilton to settle this one quickly and quietly.

  88. My wife had a business acquaintance who frequently hung out at hotels as a non guest for the purpose of consuming breakfast. He also on occasion would pay for a room to establish a presence with the property staff and so he could aquire room keys for future visits. He also accumulated a large quantity of towels. At one point I allowed him to stay with us to help him reestablish himself. After a period of time I noticed he was accumulating some of our posessions so he was no longer welcome to stay. It was then I discovered the large stash of towels left in the room. I was able to identify the hotel chain they were taken from and I returned them. My trunk was full. For me when asked a question I will respond courteously and provide what ever evidence is required to eliminate any doubt. Makes life more peaceful. If one has nothing to hide don’t make it appear that you do. Actually showing a room key does not satisfy me as evidence of a legitimate stay. I have travelled several years for business and have accumulated the plastic key cards from several occasions.

  89. As a black woman, I thank you for stepping out of any comfort zone and sharing. This it is also about awareness, very important. The world needs more like you, much appreciated. However, I am so disappointed in some of the comments. It’s just as frustrating reading the “what if it’s not about race”, or “I always show them the keycard and give my information”. Well that’s you, and that’s why it keeps happening, someone has to take a stand.

    The employee didn’t even deny it when the mom stated several times that she was the only one asked. I wish some people would try to relate, or step away from their own biases. Why are some people so defensive and play the bad advocate in these situations? They too can’t even bring themselves to give this mom the benefit of the doubt. Why? What is it that they are so trying to “protect”? I hope Corporate really does right by this lady and her children. Thanks again.

  90. This kind of foolishness happens all the time sadly.
    And thank you Ben for sharing this type of behavior with your audience as most are not aware of it.

    I’m singled out many times when I travel because I’m Black and yes it has everything to do with travel.

    I’m looked at many times when I stand in the ELite line, both by the people on the regular and the person behind the counter.
    I’m asked if I’m sure I’m standing in the right lane all the times.
    I’m asked for my boarding pass at times and I’m also ignored for service for which I’m due.
    I’ve even just wrote about all that happens to me when I travel.

    Kerwin.

  91. Unfortunately, this kind of situation happens a lot across many states which is a big problem as this was no need for the cops to be called after she showed her key card. A lot of black Americans and non Caucasian people are racially profiled. Speaking as a non American who frequently visits the United States, i have been racially profiled a lot and harassed for doing normal everyday things like going to Walmart, the mall and the rest. Sincerely, the stereotypical mentality people have needs to stop, because a black person has done something bad or wrong before does not mean all blacks are the same. A lot of times when a black person goes to a store, the security guards tail you around like why are you not tailing other person around too but me cause am black.

    That Hotel staff was not just having that the woman was a guest, even with the key card, how can she afford such an hotel or a nice car, this should not be the case. We blacks are already suffering enough we are seen as a minority, a lot of us work hard to escape the minority life the system has for us. It is very difficult for black people to become successful, the system favors Caucasian already, A Caucasian male has higher chance of getting a job for a position than a black man with the same qualifications applying for the same job position likewise same for a Caucasian female and a black female. We are already going through hell in daily lives thanks to the system, we don’t need all this, as blacks we fear for our lives everyday as the chances of us getting killed at any given time is higher than that of any other race either by law enforcement or even other citizens.

  92. This is excellent work by the hotel staffer. In the current environment, and with the potential risks of COVID-19, suspicions of unauthorized use of hotel facilities must be confronted. The level of belligerence demonstrated by the trespassing suspect is highly indicative of guilt. Notice that she stopped taking video before actually entering a room.

    This employee followed protocol and I would happily hire her for any of my hotel properties. I hope the hotel ownership will restore her position immediately and additionally pursue charges related to theft of services against the trespassing suspect.

  93. Thank you Ben. Appreciate you bringing light to this sensitive topic. People like you is why America will overcome and be better.

  94. I’m an American of African descent. When I lived in a well to do apartment complex a few years ago, I distinctly remember watching with my own two eyes, a European American woman hop over the fence with her two children to access the pool. She kept looking around to make certain that no one spotted her and I noticed that as she approached the pool area, she was able to seamlessly blend right in with the other European American moms who were by the poolside with their children. It never dawned on me to contact the concierge. Quite frankly, I didn’t care, but I definitely took note that had she been a woman of African descent, EVERYONE would have noticed and someone would have surely taken the liberty to called the concierge (who in turn would have contacted the police). The only reason why I was free to lounge by the poolside was because everyone knew I was a resident.
    As an aside, when I stayed at a 5-star resort in Aruba, a Latino security guard asked if I was a guest and I replied yes. I recall walking to the suite door, that could only be accessed with a card key, while he watched my every move. I put the card to the door and when it opened, I smiled and looked towards him, while stating “it worked!” He looked away with anger.
    I’ve personally observed that many people have very negative stereotypes of people of African descent. I travel a lot as a single woman and tend to experience varying levels of racial animus, that often stem from others being angry and upset that I, as a dark skin woman have the resources to dine at exclusive restaurants, stay at 5-star resorts and basically enjoy my life. The expectation is that I should be working a menial job and not have the ability to travel first-class or enjoy living well. It does something to their ego when they have to face the music that a black woman has far more than they do… oh well, that’s their problem, not mine.

  95. Garbage post by Ben just trying to stir up more shit in a country that is already on the brink…and Benny would NEVER post any black on white racism.

  96. Thanks for posting this article, Ben. As a frequent traveler who values points and miles, I like to know the background on places I might patronize, and the unpleasant situations that I might encounter while traveling. This article told me a lot.

    I’m very sorry that @Roman, @Matt, and @Charlie are disrupting your blog with such insensitive comments. I consider such comments to be a form of racism. I’m especially annoyed about @Charlie’s comment because I, too, have often posted here as @Charlie. I’m now fearful that folk will get the two of us confused, and I will be thought of us as racist.

  97. @Ben thank you for this post. It’s amazing with all the attention to BLM that this can still happen, but its evidence that there is still so much to do.

  98. Agree with Colin, Vernon.

    I don’t have a problem with such topics, but there are a lot of assumptions in this article. That’s why it’s disappointing.. it’s like an opinion piece based on a few facts in the Tele. Not a lot of worth to it.

    As for the whole point, do you really think if the staff member thought the people were staying there, she would have called the police? That would be stupid if she just wanted to hassle hem but thought they were staying there.

    Evidently the fact they didn’t provide room details made them seem cagey and then the next step is to get someone with authority to deal with it. That family escalated the matter, so are at fault here. And yes, I have experienced similar. Sometimes you have to prove your case, even when you’re in the right.

    People make assumptions in life – and that’s required when not enough information is avaiable, as was caused by the family here. It’s bizarre to think that shady people should get away with things because legitimate users aren’t willing to provide details to support that. And no we don’t just live in a wholesome world where everybody does the right thing, as attested by the other hotelier earlier in the comments.

  99. Perhaps the employee is just a bitch or maybe there was interaction prior to the pool. Maybe it’s not motivated by racism. And if it is, it means the employee is a racist but not all of Hampton, Hilton or the US. But when the demand for racism exceeds the supply you get rampant reports of racism in everything. Unfortunately, that takes the focus off true instances of discrimination.

  100. This was going on for a lil while in the US why are the police none the wiser for the same call over and over or for the person’s who always want to call a police but the always same to be right but the person paying their money,now have To be arras…and it just same ok with very one .. you know when you pay your money you want to enjoy yourself but if something or someone mess up your day that trip leaves a bad taste in your mouth… They’ll never no consequences for The caller But in fact that’s where the police need to come for

  101. @Kendor I disagree… When TSA wants to secondary screen me, I am glad. When a clerk asks me for ID to prove it’s my CC I thank them. When I am patted down or my bag is checked going into an event, I oblige. If a hotel clerk asks me what room I’m in I wouldn’t hesitate to tell her and I certainly would not disrespect the police that were only called there because this woman thought somehow she didn’t have to answer a simple question. Racism… HA!! The only racist person in that video is the woman screaming it.

  102. Thank you so much for posting this. It is amazing how flimsy the arguments against this are. It really shows how much work there is to be done.

  103. This is getting to be a daily thing. It doesn’t matter how many people try to sneak in and use the pool. The employee chose to only question the black woman and no other guests. Total racist. Once she showed her room key, that should have been the end of the issue. And that arrogant cop was disgusting. Nice to hear the employee was fired, but I hope the cop got his too. Disgusting. I hope this woman sues and wins big $$$$.

  104. Thanks for the story Ben. I also thank you for your support and replys to those that don’t see like you do.

  105. This is disgusting. Have had a similar experience with my very famous colleague, Richard Mann, when we shot a scene together at a hotel. Look us up, made the news.

    This was a rich black man, well dressed and still not immune to the disease of racism.

  106. Ben — Thank you for posting this. Some version of this interaction probably happens a thousand times a day. Helping expose this shames Hilton which will hopefully incentivize them to make sure incidents like this don’t keep happening.

  107. @Chris W – update! Search google news for hotels and sex trafficking. It’s much more rampant than I would have ever guessed. Never a peep about this on the blog. Probably because the mugshots are the wrong color. Shame shame. If you’re not actively anti-sex trafficking than you’re pro sex-trafficking. White silence is violence!

  108. The response to these events is always far more disturbing than the actual events. Everyone knows the world is full of vile racists, but a lot of the people commenting here about how it’s fine to racially stereotype and how those minorities just need to “tow the line, do as they’re told and stop complaining” look like otherwise innocuous members of the community.

    You’ll never know the sheer number of vile people you’re surrounded by every single day, as most are wise enough to hide it. That’s truly depressing, and I’d argue is the principle reason these events never end. Though now ordinary people are becoming more empowered to openly challenge racist behaviour, hopefully that will now start to change.

  109. be careful with this news. Maybe it’s not the complete truth. I mean some hotels I stayed in (ok not really top neighborhood ones) did check facilities like the pool. I asked once and they told me that people from the neighborhood tried to use the facilities often and that they were only for guests. This is completely understandable. It is not hard to get a room key and since they are not numbered for obvious safety reasons it’s not enough to identify you. I find it really strange you’re not willing to give you room number. This could be a red flag. Maybe the employee could be told her he thought she was trespassing before immediately calling the cops. In my experience hotel in US call the cops faster then anywhere else. Maybe it would be better if not everyone immediately jumps to conclusions and call it racist. Especially the media is very good at this.

  110. “@ Duck Ling — I’m curious, do you think the manager would have taken the situation seriously if it hadn’t escalated like this? Do you think corporate would have taken this seriously if there weren’t a viral video involving the policy?

    Because I would certainly assume the answer would be “no” and “no.” I wish it hadn’t gotten to the point where the cops had to be called, but I think the long-term benefit of this guest recording the whole situation is that this became a much more teachable moment, and the same mistake is much less likely to be made.”

    The problem is Ben is this. You are making assumptions based on a video made by the complainant. The video started and finished at the wish of the complainant. There are parts of the video where the masked employee is trying to explain a situation (that we can not hear) and the complainant is replying ‘that’s not true, that’s not true’. What the allegation is, we don’t know. Whether it was true or not, we don’t know.

    There is also the assumption that the white people in the pool weren’t ‘singled out’ in the same manner? How do we know this? How do we know that the white people were not previously asked for exactly the same details (what is your room number) and provided these?

    Pre COVID I was staying in a hotel and using the gym and a staff member came in and posed similar questions to two white guys working out in there. Not i’d assume based on their race but due to the fact they had brought in large gym bags which is unusual for a hotel gym.

    As a mixed afro carrib – european I find these kind of videos and posts doing our BLM a DIS-SERVICE because, frankly, they are petty and they undermine the REAL issues we face.

  111. Are you people dumb or what? They asked the black woman and her family while ignoring the white couple. That’s the definition of racism. I would have been outraged and once she displayed her key card case closed. Karen was fired good. But with all that is happening in the world around the issue you would think people would have a little more common sense about pushing buttons. We people of color have had enough of it. This ends now.

  112. Thank you for sharing this story. Half the black people I travel with actually don’t come out of their rooms to go to the pool during their stay at hotels all while paying the same rates as everyone else and wonder why.

  113. What you folks are not understanding was that she left her kids at the pool unattended. The lady was sitting in her car while the kids swam in the pool. Since the women would not establish her identity, then the police had to be called because now you have no way of knowing about the guardianship of the unattended minors.
    A hotel key card is not enough to establish occupancy at the hotel. You could have gathered a key card from a previous visit, someone else staying at the hotel, a past employee etc. etc. Anybody can flash an old key card. I probably have a couple old ones laying around my house.

    This lady lady does not follow the rules and leaves her kids unattended, and then starts screaming racism as soon as someone asks her about her kids and whether or not she is a guest. The women took a situation that could have been dealt with very easily and blows it up out of proportion. There was nothing racist about that, she chose to make it racist when it wasn’t.

  114. Bottom line she did the right thing film it stay calm she didn’t have to give them nothing I’m glad she put on social media they will never get my business at any of there hotels she has a lawsuit there employee discriminated against her and her family because the color of there skin sue them

  115. I’m a 50+ year old black male with a corporate persona. I’m attesting to the steady drumbeat of unwarranted suspicion, challenges, disservice, verbal attacks and insensitive escalations leveled my way. By steady drumbeat I mean 5 – 20 times daily when traveling. The patron in the video seems to know her rights. This is America and she’s likely been through similar interactions repeatedly, just for being present. These days we have video. And even then some people try to explain away the clearly injustice as if there is no injustice, question the victim more than the perpetrator, and/or instruct the victim to feel differently. I wonder when will this go away.

  116. How do you know they didn’t ask the white people? Maybe they already asked the white people and already established their right as guests at the hotel. The video starts and stops at the black women’s discretion. We have no idea what happened previously.
    The white people also didn’t have children at the pool. Since the women wouldn’t establish her identity, the hotel employee couldn’t establish if this woman was theses kids guardian. That’s why the cops were called was basically because of the kids.
    Instead this woman chose to raise it to this level, so she could prove that white people are racist. She was more interested in this event being racist than she was about the safety of her kids.
    The only way the cops could establish the black women’s identity was the black women was sitting in her car when the police pulled up. So they had to run the plates on the car.

    What’s sad is people automatically believe the black women and thus automatically believe the white women and the cops are racist.
    Folks walk around with blinders on have the attitude, ” Well I read it on the internet, so it must be true.” Common folks you have to be smarter than that.

  117. I was at the Rosewood Hong Kong and went to use the infinity pool which REQUIRED a room key for elevator AND pool access. And the pool attendant asked for my last name and room number. I gave it to him. I was at Conrad Bali and at the beach using their daybeds and they asked for my last name and room number. I was at Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay and at the Spa and they asked for my last name and room number.

    I am a “colored” person and I seriously don’t get the outrage. She should have provided those common sense details so security can keep paying guests including her family protected. What’s next? Asking a passenger for their boarding pass to verify they are in their proper seat is racist?

    Sorry I just don’t find it racist. It was just a coincidence she was black. If a white person was asked for their last name and room number I doubt there would be news.

  118. Predictable to see the usual “I don’t want to hear about racism!” racist pigs that now infest this site. F***ing trash.

  119. The GM at a hotel… Wow you kicked a homeless guy out trying to get food? That’s really sad especially since you’re going to throw what isn’t eaten away anyways. Smh and you’re proud to say you threw a white homeless guy out??? I’m black and a veteran and I didn’t fight for this country figs you to treat people that way smh!

  120. @kevin “colored” is a racists word by the way! No one uses it but those who aren’t minorities… I wouldn’t give out my room number fife some crazy person to come find me… Also in a pool with white purple and they weren’t asked… me as someone who worked at hotels front desk I knew all my guests and made it a point to find out who everyone was may it be bringing extra towels or finding out if they needed anything or were they comfortable with their stay so that things like this doesn’t happen. I also didn’t care who was in the pool as long as they weren’t being disruptive. I’ve seen teens climb the fence to get in the pool they were quiet so I left them alone. If a white guy wants to point out a situation happening to someone black let them at least they are listening and paying attention.

  121. This lady had Key to her room enough said, (police ) ok walk away from this situation, asking for ID etc was wrong / this wasn’t a crime .

    Her room key was enough ID for being there

  122. I am a retired health inspector. For many years i inspected hospitals, hotels, swimming pools, wells, restaurants, etc. If pools are maintained between 2-4 ppm chlorine, Covid-19 stands no chance, which makes properly maintained pools a safe alternative to summer fun. I am a person of color. I travel frequently. I live in North Carolina as well. I have been asked for a supervisor’s verification that I was the intended inspector for certain jobs while wearing a badge and driving a county vehicle. It may shock some of you, but being black is a full-time job that takes daily preparation. Think about that! It may not always happen, but when it does, we recognize it, we feel it. Those kids will always remember “that time”. I have many similar stories. I still don’t know how I would handle this situation. I’m a gentle, soft spoken giant…so I already stand out. I wish ppl would stop telling others when they should and shouldn’t be offended…or maybe it wasn’t racist. If you don’t want to be considered racist, stop doing and saying things that racists do and say. Stop defending in indefensible. Stop sympathizing with the insensitive. Stop your “whataboutisms” and most importantly, Listen! Happy travels!

  123. @Kevin – generally it would not be offensive, and would be fine if everyone was being asked to furnish proof. However, it seems in this case, the black family was singled out, which is f*cked up.

  124. Ben, you really need to do a little more research on this story. Attached (link) includes some important facts from the police department that you left out. The Williamston Police Department has initiated an internal investigation, it said in a press release: http://www.townofwilliamston.com/

    Many media outlets also left out some facts from their reporting on the incident.

  125. @Bruce,
    Seriously? There is absolutely no new information in the link you provided. Every fact can be found either in Ben’s article or in the comments above yours. What fact(s) do you consider to be new, important, and not previously discussed?

  126. @ The Other Charlie, for real?!?! @Bruce is 100% correct!

    Racism is real, it is terrible, and it is all around us. I hate it. Let’s be clear about that. This being said, has everyone actually watched the video in its entirety or reviewed the police reports associated with this incident?

    The black woman that created the video (aka Ednitta Wright) is the only individual that seems to be labeling this incident as an act of racism or discrimination. The employee (Morgan Kunkel of Williamston, NC) comes across as a textbook Karen, although claims to have been investigating two black children swimming alone at the Hampton Inn pool. Expressing concern over unattended minors in a pool is a legitimate safety and security responsibility of any employee. Asking an individual to provide proof that they are registered guests of a hotel is nothing out of the ordinary. It happens to me more often than not. There is no evidence to suggest a racial motivation in this case. Rather, Ms. Wright’s repeated refusal to provide information to either the employees of the hotel or to the police is the primary reason for the escalation. Ms. Wright actually had two registered rooms at the hotel via her employer, so why not simply state this fact — even in private? Simply showing a room key proves nothing, as it could have been stolen, could be a friend’s, or could be from another property.

    There was also no evidence of other caucasions at the pool, despite the commentary by Ms. Wright. Ultimately, I believe Ms. Wright has inadvertently done more to harm racial tensions than to strengthen them. An internal investigation has been launched in Williamston, NC. FOIA requests have now fully revealed the names and addresses of all those involved. Anyone can now quickly confirm that Ms. Wright has been arrested on multiple occasions in North Carolina (most recently in April 2020 on charges of larceny) and that it is now publicly known by her employer that she was traveling the week of June 21, 2020, but also doing so with her children, a fact that Ms. Wright may not have wanted to advertise. This is all very degrading to her credibility and not helpful to establishing a legitimate case for racial discrimination.

  127. The Other Charlie,
    Ben implies that the women was “singled out” solely because she was black. The police report states that the Hampton staff found the kids unattended in the pool and then found the mother in a car in the parking lot. The mother was “singled out” because she left her kids unattended in the pool (in violation of pool rules) and then found in the parking lot. The two white people didn’t leave kids in the pool unattended. Ben makes no mention of the kids being left unattended (as many media outlets also failed to mention). I do however believe the Hampton staff could have handled the situation better. (I didn’t read every comment made to Ben’s blog).

  128. I have been wondering how they knew what car belonged to this woman. I found additional detail.

    Another article I read says the hotel employee went to the pool because the two children were in the pool unattended with no adult present in the pool area. When the hotel employee questioned the children they pointed out that their mother was sitting in her car in the parking lot talking on the phone and smoking. And that is how the hotel knew what car belonged to them.

    I think most policies state a minimum age for which kids can be at a pool unattended. Whether or not the mother sitting in her car in the parking lot smoking and talking on the phone counts as “attended” would be up for debate. But that is how this whole thing started- she left the pool area and left her kids in it… convenient detail left out of the story by the initial thread.

    Still does not excuse how this escalated.

  129. @Chad get a grrrrip dude. You clearly and triflingly posted her address and full name FOR WHAT?!! You’re full of excuses for why there must be an excuse for this racism. Yeah, you’re infected dude. You’re a racist sympathizer, or one of them. Delete her address fool.

  130. @Femi

    Sorry, not a racist or a sympathizer, but thanks to the escalation and launching of an internal investigation with the police, a subsequent FOIA request has made all this information (and substantially more) public at this point. It isn’t fair to all parties to pass judgement in absence of all the facts — and, frankly, many important ones were inadvertently excluded from the reporting thus far.

  131. I was a road warrior for well over 15 years staying in hotels about 150 nights a year. I was never asked my name and room number in a situation where I was singled out. I was only asked in settings where everyone was asked and those were for things like tracking use of the executive lounge or borrowing items or if someone at the breakfast buffet or cocktail social was getting the information from all guests before they were served. This was definitely discrimination. The General Manager also needs to be punished for saying that guests are not allowed to Not give their name. If the issue was her kids not being supervised as some have said then the employee should have said in a kind way that hotel policy requires an adult to be in the pool area at all times when minors are swimming. If the manager wanted to confirm she was a guest she should have announced to everyone at the pool that she needed to confirm that everyone was a guest and could they all show their room key. If you must have a key to enter the pool then unless she had video that they entered the pool without scanning a key to get in she had no reason to ask at all.

  132. Surprise newsflash. Person posts biased, one-sided video on social media, with inflammatory commentary.

    As said before, the sad thing is when this site posts an article that takes the bait and continues with an opinion piece based on only a few facts.

  133. There was nothing wrong done here, except the hotel not backing the employee who was doing the job THEY told her to do, and then the hotel apologizing. I look forward to the day when the babies are called out for who they are and there is no apology. All the woman, who was not supervising her children at the pool, needed to do was to give her name as a guest of the hotel. Do you think every shift employee knows each and every customer that comes past the desk and checks in at all hours of the day and night?

  134. Based on your post this treatment was unfair. But I must point out there is no evidence of RACISM. Racism is the belief in the inherent superiority of one race (or necessarily inferiority of another). There’s no evidence of that here. This is either prejudice, bigotry or bias most likely. Please don’t contribute to the erroneous use of a serious work. Some may think this is a nit-pick, but the first step to addressing a problem is to identify it. Calling even incident of bias or prejudice “racism” strongly suggests that one is often unable to identify the root cause which makes effectively addressing it all the note difficulty.

  135. We are tired of being asked to legitimize our existence; particularly in front of our children. Privilege has nobody behind people thinking they’re entitled to request we legitimize who what where and when to them. If anything, they should have asked her to show her room key worked (if they were that concerned).

    Otherwise, I totally support her not giving her name or room number, and I am so thankful we are in a post Sandra Bland climate so some of these police officers are rethinking their hyper-aggressive behavior. Thanks for sharing this.✊✊✊

  136. @Pinky.. None of what you said makes sense. There was no one within earshot. The hotel lobby was clearly a few feet away so she COULD have checked. And, if she was a guest why did she say that SHE was there on business?
    @TheRealBabushka – Yes. The hotel clerk clearly states they have problems with people like her who are UNAUTHORIZED (not black) swimming in the pool.
    And, lastly, @ anyone who keeps saying “She didn’t ask the white couple.” She very clearly states early on in video that she checked in that white couple. So, yes, she DID recognize them.
    You all want to make it about race. There is racism. This isn’t it. Like someone said in a comment, this may be bias but not racism. And I will go so far as to say she was just following the rules. Let’s try this scenario:
    She does not check on the woman in the pool to make sure she has a room. Her manager comes in and asks if she did. She says “No. Because she is black and I didn’t want to offend her.” Does she keep her job for not being biased? Or does she lose it for not following company policy?

  137. This is all great information, however, CNN is reporting on the story. And they briefly mention one little bit of info that may be of importance…
    “Hampton Inn staff told two responding officers that during hourly inspections of the hotel they had spotted two unattended children swimming in the pool, and that Williams-Wright was seen in her car in the hotel parking lot, according to the police statement.”

    You see, she left two unattended minors at the pool, and went to her car to charge her phone. So maybe we can report all the information and try not to make it about race. Had these kids gotten hurt (or worse), then what would she have done?

  138. What does her previous record has to do with what happened? Did the clerk have a way of knowing that when approaching the GUEST? Plenty of felons of all race have jobs. Apparently, the clerk was wrong because mom was there. She shouldn’t have walked away but that’s what should have been addressed.
    Seriously, was the clerk dressed like a hotel clerk. I would have questioned her as to her tight to be there.
    Many employers allow you to travel with family.
    Lastly, where can you use the hotel key card after checkout. It won’t card you into the pool nor a room. You guys make it up as you go.
    If it was about the kids safety, once she identified mom, that would have been enough.

  139. I am white and have been asked for my name and room number at the pool, going to the club, and going into the breakfast. I had a White co-worker that looked young and when we stayed in college towns he was constantly asked for proof he was staying at the hotel whenever he used the pool the gym and even at breakfast. There might be more to the story than we know. Sadly once the race card is played no one wants to listen to the other side. Sometimes people have attitudes that don’t help. Case in point. Before I got married my future brother in law and I went to a Laker game. We had nose bleed seats. An usher came up and told us and the black couple next to us that they double sold our seats and we will get moved three rows lower. We said no problem. The black lady had a major shit fit and stated she bought these seats and will not move. She didn’t move. Instead of moving three rows lower, like the 4 of us were told, she got to stay in her shitty seats and we were taken to seats 6 rows from the court. Sometimes being nice pays off. Before any of you woke people start whining about white privilege, my brother in law is a minority.

  140. A room key card proves NOTHING. It only proves you have a room key card. In the old days when a physical room key cost $10 it did prove something.

    I have approximately 500 key cards that I have collected for various reasons – some to do with the data that is encoded on the card and some are really unique.

    Today we have the “take and edit a video of anything that you can possibly turn into an incident” and then post it on the media. Instead of answering the question (remember – she could have picked up the room key from the floor or had one from the last time she stayed in a Hampton) she turned this into an “incident” that will probably lead to cash rewards and/or notoriety. It is intended to shame a poor room clerk who was not prepared for this level of animosity and entitlement.

    Our laws used to be based on English Common Law where a person was innocent until proven guilty and where evidence would be provided in a court of law and not released to the public to ensure that people received a fair trial. Today all trials are by publishing accusations (founded or not) into the public eye to ensure a verdict even before all the evidence is collected.

    I get asked all the time what room I am in and what my name is and I am not a minority (well being over 70, mobile, white haired etc probably makes me a visible minority). Every time I go to a pool I get asked the question. I answer the question. If my room key doesn’t work I have to provide ID to get a new key or get security to let me into the room so I can get the ID from the safe. I don’t think publicizing unproven accusations is doing ANYTHING to IMPROVE these issues, but definitely is raising the level of ire. These are not solutions.

    If more people looked at the following video there might be some more valuable discussions.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faolY5_hnIc&feature=youtu.be

    Good Relationships start by NOT BEING CONFRONTATIONAL. We certainly have not seen any video that would show what happened before the police arrived. Do front desk clerks have to wear a camera so they won’t get into these he said she said incidents where everyone “knows” that it was a racist problem? Then we get the civil libertarians who sate “turn off that camera, you cannot video me” but then broadcast all the unproven video materials they can get their hands on.

    I don’t imagine for one second that the Hampton even bothered to ask the clerk what happened. I’m sure the person was fired immediately to get the “good guy” approvals that will never be forthcoming.

    Just as an aside – HGI’s and Hampton’s are often side by side. I wonder how many people have stayed in an HGI and used a (spare) Hampton room key to get the free breakfast at the Hampton?

  141. Black privilege means any accusations made by blacks will be automatically believed. This is wrong too. Hotels regularly have people using facilities who are not guests. In big resorts hotels will often have armbands, but it is often not the case in smaller hotels. I’m not going to make a judgement until all the facts of the are are known and I hear both sides of a story.

    It should be noted that blacks commit a disproportionately high amount of violent crime and people shouldn’t be blamed for taking statistics into account when judging safety situations. I’m not going to go walking in an area with pit bulls running around or go swimming in a beach known to have a lot of shark sightings.

  142. @Lucky states:

    Unfortunately this is just another case of racism in our country. Fortunately these kinds of incidents are starting to get more attention, and we’re seeing swifter punishment for this kind of behavior, as it should be.

    Really…nice try. Maybe get a dictionary? Racism is, by definition: a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.

    Aside from a black person repeatedly claiming racism in a self-made, self-edited video and uploading to social media, where are you getting evidence to substantiate such a claim? As I pointed out in the Delores Corbett case, this looks much more like behavioral profiling that has been misrepresented as racial profiling. Yes, [justified] behavioral profiling, regardless of race: unattended minors swimming alone in violation of posted rules followed by irresponsible parent’s refusal to provide name, room number, or proof of being a paying customer.

    Also, a tremendous amount of additional, pertinent information has been purposefully excluded from this story as well as edited out of the comments. Why?

  143. The title of this blog post was misleading after all of the information was shared. I strongly suggest the title is changed.

    There was no “black family at the pool.” There were two unsupervised children at the pool and their mother out in the parking lot 3 parking space lengths away sitting in a car. This is a serious safety issue for the kids in the pool. Without adult supervision one of these kids could have drowned in the pool before the mother could have gotten out of her car though the parking lot and through the pool gate to resolve the situation.

    Also there was no “white” family who left their kids unattended in the pool area then went and sat in the parking lot multiple car lengths away from the pool inside a car. The only person who left two kids unattended in the pool area was this woman who was involved in the confrontation. The clerk commenting about “those people do this all time time” is unclear if she means people who sit in their car in the parking lot while kids are in the pool, or if the comment is racial. But that doesn’t even matter because this was a real safety issue.

    This woman was in the wrong leaving her two kids unattended in the pool and going and sitting in her car so far away from the pool- again serious safety issue. But she turned it into her being a victim when really she did something that was careless and dangerous leaving her kids unsupervised. The behavior of the hotel employee helped the woman turn it around into a victim situation.

    The woman’s kids should have been kicked out of the pool area immediately due to not being supervised for safety reasons and no further comment by the hotel clerk; at that point if the woman escalated it by yelling or raising her voice, the clerk should have called the police and reported the whole incident and attempted to get the woman trespassed out of the hotel for not following pool rules then becoming verbally abusive (yelling) at the hotel employee.

  144. If racism starred some people in the face; they still would be dumbfounded at what it looks like.

    Most people, black, white, etc.; would rather not understand the fact that the same Racist System that supported and upheld blacks being hung, enslaved and brutalized back centuries ago is still being operated and vamped today.

    I for one is glad when people question such broad and direct examples of Racism. This tells me the character and mind of a person. Whether or not they are a Coward racist that make it a point to show their hatred, Bias Racist who choose to act on the Bias more than the racism it self or Ignorant Racist that chooses to simply act according to how they were raised than the actual facts; even though the facts dictate their beliefs on the matter.

  145. @Mr. Clark so evidence doesn’t matter? If one wants to be sure that we are actually dealing with a real incident of prejudice (again, that is more likely what this is rather than racism, if this is even racially motivated which is certainly not proven) that means they are “racist” of some flavor? Do we understand you correctly?

    That attitude is precisely why people want to see evidence because some will label anything as “racism.” That usage is why that word is largely meaningless today. That attitude is why we will have few prospects to address real problems in society that assuredly are there.

  146. @Mr Clark

    It matters not what people say or do when the attitude is that “Racism exists everywhere and is always the problem” attitude prevails among some people.

    Cameras never show the whole story because by the time one recognizes that an incident is about to happen the introduction is already long gone.

    I feel for the poor desk clerk who is the victim here. Fired because this idiotic event went viral or fired because she didn’t follow the hotel rules and monitor unattended children in a swimming pool.

    Stop shaming the poor victim because she/he is not of colour thus is a racist.

  147. Attached (link) includes some important facts about this incident from the police department that were left out of Ben’s blog. See the Williamston Police Department official report at: http://www.townofwilliamston.com/

    An important fact is that the woman left her two young kids unattended in the hotel pool (in violation of pool rules). The hotel staff first found the kids in the pool and then found the mother in a car in the parking lot. When the woman was approached by the hotel staff in the car, she refused to identify herself, or her room number, and did not show a room key card to the staff at that time. The staff then called the police, in accordance with the current hotel policy, concerning a possible trespassing violation. The police arrive and find the woman in the car and then they all move to the pool area. Once at the pool, the woman starts recording with her phone and refuses to give her name to the police but then eventually shows a hotel key card. The police run her car license plate to identify her and the staff is able to confirm that she is a current guest of the hotel.

    The woman and her family were not singled out at the pool because of the color of their skin. The white couple at the pool did not leave any kids unattended in the pool to go sit in their car in the parking lot. She was singled out because she left her kids unattended in the pool and was found in the parking lot and refused to identify herself for the staff to confirm she was a guest at the hotel.

    The police in 25 states, including NC, are authorized to lawfully order people whom they reasonably suspect of a crime (i.e. trespassing violation) to state their name. However, I suspect the police thought it was less confrontational to just run her car plate. See the law at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_and_identify_statutes#States_with_.E2.80.9Cstop-and-identify.E2.80.9D_statutes

    Many media outlets also, conveniently, left out some important facts from their reporting on this incident.

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