Lost and found

So the other night I am woken up by my phone just after 2AM. I think we should come up with a better term actually, because the truth is that one is not woken up at two in the morning by a phone, you are you are “freaked-out-of-your-sleep” or “ horrified-out-of-your-dreams” or “panicked-in-to-consciousness.”

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As if this were not bad enough, on the other end of the phone is the shrill voice of an Italian guest recovering with us after a minor surgical procedure. He works at the UN and is the size of an underfed 14 year old. His temper however, does not match his lithe little body, and he is swearing at me in Italian.

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I am now wide awake and imagining all scenarios that could possibly justify this hysteria. Maybe his nurse-call-button was not attended to, maybe his wound has burst open, and he is hemorrhaging to death, maybe he dialed the wrong number and is in fact having a fight with his long-suffering wife back in Sicily.

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I quickly ascertain though that the reason for his call is to inform me (loudly) that his socks are missing. Why he realised this at 2AM, I am not sure. Why he did not think it would be better to ask my staff – who are right there and on duty – where said socks are, is beyond me too. Instead, he decided to phone me, who is in her own bed, kilometers away from him and his missing socks. I assume, logically, that he is looking for his surgical socks which prevent clotting and are standard after most surgeries. I get him as calm as I can and phone my team, “Where are his (read expletive here) surgical socks?”.

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They tell me that his socks are on his feet. Where they should be.

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I phone him back because I love my staff way too much to let them handle this crazy conversation. I tell Mr. Luigi (not his real name) that he is in fact wearing his socks and think we can attribute his temporary lapse of sanity to the effects of the anesthesia and I’m sure to get an apology and we can all go back to sleep.

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However, my telling him that his surgical socks were on his feet infuriated him even more, and the continued verbal abuse was impressive. (Luckily it was mostly in Italian and I admit that I was not suitably upset but rather intrigued by his lovely accent). Eventually he managed to communicate that I was condescending and that he knows he is wearing his surgical socks, but that he is looking for tennis socks (You know, as one does at 2AM).

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After about five minutes my team located his tennis socks, which he had asked them to wash in the late afternoon. Both socks were happily hanging on the washing line.

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Herewith a picture of the socks. If anyone could tell me why he had to wake me up to find these socks I will forever be grateful. I wish these types of stories were few and far between, but they are not. We have had to search for so many things guests have misplaced or lost. One guest would be terrified that someone would steal his cell phone, so he would hide it a few times a day and then ask us to find it.

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The phone was always flat, so we could not call it to find it but was luckily mostly hidden rolled up in a pair of pajamas under his pillow. (He was forgetful but not imaginative, that is for sure). I have been accused of stealing a greasy R4 comb (because I would rather steal that than the laptops and electronics guests leave safely in our rooms all the time) only to find it at the bottom of the ugliest bathroom bag known to man. A wallet went missing too, only for us to find it where the guest left it… UNDERNEATH him. He was literally sitting on it the whole time while we searched the entire property.

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Recently we had an international guest (here for a nip and tuck) check out, and on the way to the airport she phoned us mid-meltdown. She was screeching hysterically that she left her wedding ring on the bedside table. We had just cleaned her room and were waiting for a post-knee-replacement guest to arrive and check in there. The team gathered and the staff explained that there was a huge amount of tissues and shopping slips on the bedside table and they threw it in a bin. It was Thursday, rubbish-collection day. Our guys rushed out and retrieved the bag in which her rubbish was thrown. We literally rescued it MINUTES before the rubbish truck got to us. We did the happy funky chicken dance and phoned to inform her that all three rings were safe and sound…

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And just then she screamed, but there were five!!!! As she said those words, I saw the rubbish truck leave our street corner after emptying all our bins with remaining rings inside.

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My staff, bless them, ran after the truck, but protocol forbids Pick-it-up from stopping for random people wanting to retrieve stuff (How often does this happen I wonder?). We called security and we called the police. Within ten minutes the truck came back to us. I was hoisted on to Gift’s shoulders and through the steel jaws of the rubbish truck, stared in to the abyss filled with a mishmash of rotten food, dirty nappies, and something resembling bubbling slime. I cannot describe the smell to you, but rest assured, just about nothing could convince me that those rings would ever be found in that truck.

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I phoned the guest and wished her well, assuring her we tried everything. She was grateful that we at least got three of the five rings back, and I do not think she will ever put anything valuable on a bedside table again.

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The the smell of that truck was unbearable so I told the Pick-it-up-team to go with my blessing, gave them all a Coke and a promised to never again say that they do not deserve to come knocking on my door for a Christmas gift come December.

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