This picks up where the previous post–“Casting blessings“–left off. After receiving excellent and kind care at John Hopkins Emergency Room, I returned to the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront hotel, complete with new crutches and a knee-high “Big Joey” splint-cast on my left leg to protect my fractured ankle bone. This post is a thank you to key staff at the hotel–including the general manager–who offered me VIP treatment and grace.
As Michael, a bellman, wheeled me into my room, there was a note on my bed from Denise, the head housekeeper who had encouraged me to go to the ER. “I came back to check on you. I hope everything’s O.K. with your leg.”
Paul did the research, and tells me I can get on a 6 a.m. flight home for $50 change fee; an afternoon flight would cost an additional $266. I can’t imagine waiting until my scheduled 8 p.m. flight to go home. I can’t imagine being ready to leave for the airport at 4 a.m. I have myself a good, big cry. I call American Airlines and change the flight to 6 a.m.
At 10 p.m., exhausted before making a dent in what needed to be done, I took Annie’s suggestion and called the front desk for help. Ornaith came up, packed my clothes, cashed a check so I’d have money for tips, and set me up with water, ice and a cookie.
All was well until about 1:30 a.m. when I got up to go to the bathroom. I had trouble with the new crutches and took a big face-forward fall on the tile. My right elbow took the worst of the fall (nothing broken, though) and the crutches seem to have bruised my arm pits.
When I got myself back to bed I called the front desk and asked if someone would come up at 3:00 a.m. to help me get ready to leave. That someone was Jewel, a security officer. She helped me get ready, pack up the final things, and printed out my folio and boarding pass.
“Who’s the top person in charge at the hotel?” I asked Jewel. “I want to send a letter thanking all of you.”
“Ed’s the general manager,” Jewel answered with a smile, “and he happens to be here right now.”
The dictionary definition of “executive manager” should include the name Ed Rudzinski. Managing properties for Marriott for 33 years, Ed still visits all shifts and takes a turn doing all the jobs. It takes just seconds to understand why his employees so admire him.
Ed, Jewel and I visited for 30 minutes or so, as we waited for his favorite driver to come pick me up. Small world story: Ed opened the Marriott O’Hare, right next to the Lutheran Center on Higgins Road.
Not only had Ed arranged for me to be driven to the airport in a Lincoln Town car, he sent Jewel along, too. At the airport the driver told me to put away my credit card, Ed had paid for the trip. Jewel made sure I was in good hands before saying goodbye.
Aaron, the American Airlines rep, got me through security and to the gate. There was no jet way for this American Eagle flight. So, in the dark and cold of early morning, Aaron takes me down an elevator and wheels me across the tarmac to an industrial looking cherry picker type lift. I make several one-legged hops to get on. “Don’t break it,” said the operator in all seriousness.
Two-plus hours later, I was wheeled up an O’Hare jet way. A special pass allowed Paul to meet me at the gate. Home again.
—Sue Edison-Swift (5/8/2011)