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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Linton

Hurricanes and Other Distractions

This last week has been eventful, with Hurricane Idalia visiting our area. With worrying about the hurricane, preparing for the hurricane, experiencing the hurricane and then cleaning up after the hurricane, I haven’t had time for a whole lot more. We were lucky here in Tallahassee that, unexpectedly, we got the edges of the storm and not the full brunt of it. What I have to say in this post is not about dancing, although, sadly, we did have a dance I was planning to attend on Wednesday night cancel. It does have something to do with travel.

I felt that I should not stay in my home when the storm arrived, so on Tuesday morning, I made a reservation at the Clarion Pointe Tallahassee hotel. I booked it through my travel agency account for myself and received an email confirming that the payment had been made and the room would be ready for me. At that point, the storm was expected to make landfall on Tuesday evening, around 8 p.m. I put some things in the yard away, packed up my things. The news at that time was advising that we take with us necessities, medications and food, for 3 days. The hotel’s check-in time was 3 p.m. and that is about the time I arrived there, maybe a few minutes after. I waited in line and when it was my turn, the reception desk attendant asked me if the address on my driver’s license was correct. I said it was, and she said, “I’m sorry, you can’t stay here because this hotel has a policy that no one who lives within 100 miles of the property can stay here.” I pointed out that there was a weather emergency, that a Category 3 hurricane was bearing down on us and that I could not return to my home. She insisted that there was no way she could make an exception to the owner’s policy. She didn’t know what I was going to do, but she advised me to try to find a hotel that didn’t have that policy. She claimed that the policy was mentioned on Expedia’s website, but I have gone back and checked carefully, and have not been able to find any notice of the policy, even in the fine print of Terms and Conditions, Rules and Regulations, etc. I was not the only person who was turned away; I saw several others. By this time, the governor had ordered all people living in mobile homes under mandatory evacuation in Leon County, the county where I live and where Tallahassee is. While I was in the lobby, the television was tuned to the Weather Channel, with near hysterical reports about how terrible this storm was going to be.

I hadn’t heard about this policy before, and perhaps there is some logical reason for it under normal circumstances, but an exception to such a policy should be made under a weather emergency. I was lucky enough to find another hotel nearby that didn’t have that policy; however, I suffered a tremendous amount of stress and took the first hotel I saw, even though it didn’t have good reviews and cost more. I was panicking at the time I booked it. I am grateful that I was safe, and didn’t suffer much damage to my home, but I hope that any hotel that has such a policy will, in the future, make an exception during an emergency.

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