A hotel guest locked her small child in a hot car in the parking lot while she hung out with her friend

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

I spent nearly two years working as a hotel maid. It was one of the most soul-crushing jobs I've held since deciding to enter the workforce directly out of high school in lieu of pursuing a college education.

Nothing reduces your faith in humanity like cleaning up after hotel guests. Some people think just because they are paying to rent a room, they have the right to destroy it.

I've scrubbed all manner of filth from carpets and bathtubs, cleared hundreds of beer cans from suites, and cleaned up after more sloppy bachelor parties than I can count. Yet the most troubling thing I saw while serving as a hotel maid happened in the parking lot, not in one of the rooms or suites.

We had a pair of problematic hotel guests, one of whom had a small child. One hot summer day, the two women decided to party in one of their rooms. They were making a lot of noise, which I heard from the hotel room directly above theirs while I was cleaning.

I looked out the window of the hotel room as I vacuumed, and I noticed movement through the rear window of one of the cars in the back parking lot. I stopped what I was doing to take a closer look.

What I saw down below in a closed car with no open windows and no air conditioning shocked me. It was the toddler son of one of the women. He was strapped in his car seat in the back seat of the car, and he was by himself.

I continued to stare out the window, trying to make sure I was correct in my observation that the little boy was all alone in his mom's car. When I was certain I was right, I called the hotel manager to report the situation. I asked him if I should call the police, but he said he would handle it.

Sometimes I regret not calling the police before calling the manager. The manager found the little boy's mother living it up in her friend's hotel room, and he gave her a chance to do the right thing before calling the cops.

I can't help but wonder whether it was the right decision. The woman seemed like an unfit mother to me, but it wasn't my job to judge the motherhood qualifications of hotel guests. It was my job to clean dirty toilets.

Both women moved out of the hotel shortly thereafter, taking the little boy with them. No, the women weren't a couple, by the way. They both had boyfriends who had been working on a local construction project, and the two couples rented separate rooms.

I'll never know what happened to the little boy or his mother, but today, that little boy would be a young man in his early teens. Hopefully, he's doing well. He must be doing better than the day his mom left him in a locked car in a hotel parking lot in the summer.

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