Some of our extended family came into town for their first ever UT football game. This was their first visit to Knoxville and one of the few times they have traveled out of small town, TN for something fun. They were away from home when one of the children had heart surgery, but I really don’t think that counts as a vacation. They booked two rooms for two nights at the least expensive hotel they could find and paid with their credit card. It was within walking distance of the stadium and they were thrilled. The game was exciting and UT beat Arkansas 34 – 13. They walked the long hike back to their hotel where my parents waited to take them to see the mountains. Everyone was confused to find that they couldn’t get in their rooms. A quick trip to the office to exchange their keys turned into a nightmare. The woman working the desk informed them that they only had those rooms for one night and since they abandoned their luggage, they had confiscated their belongings. Two hours later, the woman and her unseen boyfriend agreed to return their luggage. A quick search of the luggage revealed that the portable dvd player, ipods, cameras and even the children’s gameboys were gone. The hotel employee denied any knowledge of the missing electronics and refused to refund the second night’s hotel fees. During the long, long time that this scenario played out in what I’m sure felt like slow motion, someone else came in complaining about being locked out of their room. Those people argued for their luggage, got it and left. I wonder how long before they realize that all of their electronics were stolen too? All of these people are still stuck in that hotel parking lot, waiting to file a pointless police report. Do you think they will think very highly of Knoxville? Do you think they will speak very kindly of Knoxville? I am embarrassed and so very sorry for what these good people have been through. The fact that Knoxville Tourism recommends the hotel just makes me angry.
Correction: I was incorrect in saying that Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corp. endorses this hotel. KTSC just advertises the hotel to any Knoxville visitor looking for a place to stay.
After several hours without a police officer, the men went TO the police station to file their report while the women and children drove to Walland for dinner with another cousin. It was too dark to see the mountains. They spent the night at a cheap hotel near the airport and left early this morning to go home.
They should have gotten to drive through downtown Knoxville and see all the beautiful old churches. They should have gone window shopping on Market Square. They should have enjoyed the breath-taking view of the mountains and the colors of the leaves. They should have been greeted with smiles and hospitality from Knoxvillians. The police should have shown up within an hour and given the hotel clerk the look that would inspire her to suddenly find one more bag of things from the hotel room. Knoxville is better than this.