Joe and I were checking into the Delta hotel in Charlottetown in advance of my giving some lectures there. I had ridden up the ramp to the lobby in my power chair and Joe was chatting with the bellman about the car, the luggage and such. There was no one in the line up so I presented myself to the front desk and a woman asked if I was checking in. I said I was. She was running through the particulars of the room with me. King bed. Wheelchair accessible. Wireless Internet. All were exactly as ordered.
She then asked how many keys I wanted made for the room. This is stuff I can do paying the barest amount of attention. We've done it thousands of times. Just as the keys were being cut, Joe arrived to tell me that the car was taken care of and luggage was on it's way up. She took in Joe's presence, handed me my keys and said, "Welcome to the Delta, I hope you and your ... partner, have a wonderful stay." It looked for a second as if she didn't know the exactly right word to say but in the end chose one that was perfectly fine.
We rode up in the elevator both agreeing, "Times have changed."
We've been travelling for work for decades. There have been times when hotels have flat out refused to give us a king bed. Several times our choice was two queens (is there an irony there) or find another hotel. This confrontation was always aggressive and they were always the aggrieved party - how dare we book a hotel under false pretences. Wha??? We tried to get into a habit of just one of us checking in and getting the key, then, once done we'd go about as openly as we typically would. But try as we might we kept messing up and ending up with disapproving stares and discussions with upset managers.
As time has passed by there has been less and less of a fuss made. In the last few years, we'd be given the keys without comment, we might get glares and cold shoulders, but, forgive me, screw 'em, we don't need their approval.
But then in Charlottetown, the woman at the desk, for the first time ever in our lives, treated us as valued customers and as a couple welcome to stay at the hotel.
That's never happened before.
We got in the room. Joe sat down on the bed. I rolled over to the desk and turned to look at him. "That was odd," I said. He agreed and said, "We've never been welcomed, together, before."