This, my favorite travel story ever, has been on my mind lately. I think you'll enjoy it.
Let me set the scene for you: Harrogate, England, 2008. I was there on business, staying in a lovely hotel, in a first floor (that's second floor to you Americans) room just off the grand staircase down to the lobby. It was 7:00am, I had just returned from my morning walk, and was ready to shower.
There was a knock on my door. Curious.
When I opened the door, there stood in front of me an elderly woman, a bit overweight, and stark naked. Shocked, I could barely listen to her as I rushed her into my room and pulled the bed cover off the bed so I could cover her. Only then could I concentrate on what she was saying.
She didn't want to be a bother, and would I just please call down to the lobby and ask someone to come unlock room 135 for her? She had accidentally locked herself out.
Didn't want to be a bother?!?!?!?
I called to the desk, made the request, and proceeded to escort her, now covered, back to her room. I noticed how she walked bent over with a limp, her toenails thickened and curled. She mentioned that she was "83 years old, you know" in her lovely British accent.
She then explained that she and her husband were checking out and he had gone on ahead. Their room had a small antechamber where their packed luggage stood, and she was trying to reach out for her suitcase when the door closed - and locked - behind her.
Buck naked, with no alternative, she had begun to walk down the hall, knocking at each door, hoping someone would be in. I counted. Twelve doors. I tried to image myself in her shoes. Or, rather, not in her shoes because she was naked. I couldn't fathom it…
Remember how I said mine was the door closest to the grand staircase?
What if I hadn't answered? Oh, I'm so glad I answered!
Anyway, when we arrived at her room, I saw what she meant, that there was a bit of a foyer with its own door before the door to the actual room. Standing in that space the two aforementioned suitcases.
Someone arrived with the key and unlocked the door, my new friend and I expressing profuse thanks. Once in her room and in her robe she returned the bed cover to me with words of thanks.
A bit later, back in my own room, now showered and dressed, I heard another knock on the door. I thought to myself "what is going on today?" as I opened it.
There in front of me stood a beautiful and dignified elderly women, impeccably dressed and coiffed, and leaning very slightly on an elegant cane. "THIS" she said proudly with a cheeky grin, "is what I look like with clothes ON."
Oh how I love Brits.