The Commerce Journal

April 17, 2014

Motel a real winner

By Tumbleweed Smith
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — I traveled to Kingsville to do some filming and interviewing on King Ranch.

Tom Arcand was with me doing the video work. We arrived in Kingsville around 8 p.m. and checked into the first decent motel we found. It was a recognized upscale national chain; in fact, it had been voted the best motel of the year within the chain. We asked for two rooms. The clerk said she had two rooms, but they were not next door to each other. She told me I was in room 238 and Tom was in room 223. She handed me a sheet of paper with details about the rate, etc., and asked me to initial it and sign it, which I did without taking much notice of it. She then handed me the little envelope with a plastic key card and a voucher for breakfast.

When Tom finished with his check-in, we got our luggage and equipment and went to our rooms. At least Tom did. I was loaded up with all my luggage and recording equipment, which I hauled up two flights of stairs. When I got to room 238, I sat down my heavy luggage and equipment and was looking forward to stretching out and getting comfortable. It had been a busy day and I was tired. The key wouldn’t work. I must have shoved that card in that lock 25 times. I noticed a light was on inside the room. I loaded up all my stuff; trudged down two flights of stairs with it, put it in the car, then hiked the 200 yards to the office. She gave me another key.

I dragged myself back across the parking lot, up the stairs (this time without my stuff. I left it in the car) and tried to open the door to 238 with that card. It wouldn’t work. Back to the office. I told the girl behind the counter I thought maybe someone was in that room, since the light was on. She called it and sure enough, it was occupied. I asked for another room. She said she could put me in room 117. Just about that time a woman came through the door and said she couldn’t get her key to work in room 117. Wow. Now it was getting interesting. The girl behind the counter called the maintenance person, who was gone somewhere. She called someone else and that person was gone also.

I remembered the piece of paper she had given me earlier. I got it out. It indicated I had been assigned to room 222, next to Tom. She gave me the key to 222 and it worked. I got my stuff and was all set for a relaxing evening. I called my wife by cell phone because the phone hadn’t been activated yet. I tried calling the front desk, but got no answer. I turned off the light and went to sleep.

I got up at my usual early hour a little after 5 and turned on the TV.

It wouldn’t work.

All I got was video static. I went to the lobby to check my email. The computer wouldn’t work. Tom came over and we went to the restaurant for breakfast. Tom ordered the Eye Opener, the top item on the menu. The waiter told us that was the only item on the menu that was not covered by the breakfast voucher. Tom said he would pay extra to get the Eye Opener.

Next time I was in Kingsville I stayed somewhere else. .

Tumbleweed loves to travel Texas and listen to people tell their stories. Contact him at 432-263-3813.