How Did You Handle It?

I was living in Boston for three months, doing the research for my second book.

A Basketball.

A Basketball. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I drove home to Virginia almost every two weeks.

I was especially grateful for this plan when I got to my son’s elementary school one Friday night, minutes before they were to start playing basketball.

That night, several of his teammates were sick.

The remaining five boys would have to play the entire game, no substitutions.

They were playing a taller, better team.

It was the only game they won the entire season.

When I drove back to Boston, I usually broke up the 9-hour drive by stopping for the night somewhere in Connecticut, at the six-hour mark.

On this trip, for some reason, I must have thought I could drive all the way through, as I usually did on the way home.

I also must have started late because it was nighttime by the time I reached Connecticut.

Between major cities in Connecticut, I realized I was not going to make it to the next town.

I didn’t want to risk falling asleep at the wheel.

I started checking the exit signs for hotels.

I found an exit that advertised a Hilton, a safe choice for a single woman traveling alone at night.

I checked in, picked up my key and was told, “The elevator’s out. You’ll have to walk up to the third floor.”

I carried my bag to the third floor.

The key didn’t work.

I did not want to leave my bag unattended in a strange hotel, so, carried it back down to the registration desk.

“The key doesn’t work.”

“Oh. I must not have striped it right. Here. This time it will work, for sure.”

I trudged back upstairs.

The key didn’t work.

I am not confrontational, by nature.

But, it was late. I was tired.

With an elevator not working, no one had offered to take my bags up either the first or second time I climbed to the third floor.

I realized the hotel staff needed to know what it would take to make me happy, because by now I was boiling mad.

“The key doesn’t work,” I told the desk clerk.

And, then, I said,

“This is what’s going to happen. I am going over to sit in the bar you have next to the registration desk.”

“You are going to take my bag up to the room.”

“Then, when you have found a key that works, you are going to come to the bar and tell me my bag is in my room and give me my key.”

“And, you are going to pay for my drink.”

He looked at me, dumb-founded.

“Yes, of course,” he stammered.

Fifteen minutes later, he came to give me a working key.

I slept well that night.

The second of my books, Covin’s New England Computer Job Guide, was published in 1991.


Have you ever had to stand up for yourself?


Do your grandchildren know the story?

To you and teaching your grandchildren to stand up for themselves.


Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers


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