For many, once the security blanket of familiarity of their usual surroundings is removed, the resulting angst and uncertainty can make an intrepid traveller unable to perform simple tasks that include keeping track of their personal possessions.
As we have become increasingly distracted in the modern world, the instances of guests leaving items behind in our motel rooms has increased.
We dutifully bag/tag/record all items left behind and tactfully attempt to contact a guest if we deem the item left behind is of value.
We have a rule at our motel that any unopened alcohol or pornography found by our housekeepers is to be immediately taken to reception. Being socially responsible, I believe it is my duty to personally look after these items and keep them out of harms way.
These are of course not the only items that are left behind, with cell phone chargers being the most common. Over the years, there have been many memorable lost property items:
Our housekeeping staff were once horrified to find a shotgun hidden under a bed. The previous occupant was a keen duck shooter and didn't want to leave it in his car overnight so he tucked it under his bed. He forgot to take it with him when he checked-out and was somewhat embarrassed when we contacted him.
We once found a large sum of cash and cheques amounting to several thousand dollars that were made up ready to be banked hidden under a bed pillow. We tried for days to contact the owner. After leaving several messages on his cell phone we finally managed to contact him. With little emotion and absolutely no gratitude he simply instructed us to bank it and hung up.
One of our housekeeping staff once rang me in a distressed state from a guest room and demanded that I come immediately. When I arrived she nervously pointed towards the bed where a baby was lying. As I slowly made my way towards the bed I could see that the baby was not breathing. This was definitely one of those OMG moments.
Standing over the bed I reached down and touched the baby's arm. Sure enough it has cold - latex cold! This was the most realistic doll I have ever seen. The housekeeper needed a several cups of tea and a few smokes before she could stop shaking and return to work. I scurried back to reception trying to keep a cool demeanor, relieved that I have still yet to live every motelier's nightmare and discover a real body.
One of our housekeeping staff once came across an enormous bag of weed in one of our motel units. Work came to a standstill as all staff gathered around to inspect the bounty. I ended up ringing the police to come and uplift the bag. Upon arrival, we were informed in a matter of fact way by the officer that the the bag was a "dealers bag". Essentially this meant that it was so big that it must have been for supply.
I can still remember the reaction of one particular staff member that could not take her eyes off the bag and the look of sorrow and despair as the policeman drove out the motel driveway with the contraband safely stowed away.
One of the funniest sights we have seen was the look of shock and horror of one of our motel housekeepers when we explained to her what a large battery-operated, pink, torpedo shaped item was that she found discarded in a guest room. Unfortunately before we spoke to her, she dutifully presented her find to us after nonchalantly entering our reception area waving the object in the air as we were checking-in a bemused guest.
Lost property curious left behind in motel rooms seems to be a templated article that regually appears in the MSM. Waikato Times reporter Corey Rosser spent a bit of time safely behind his desk phoning around various motels and soon came up with some great examples of items guests leave behind:
"Curious lost property left behind
Expensive French underwear, a chainsaw and a pair of matching his and hers wigs - not everyone's idea of a good time but some of the bizarre things that have been left around Waikato accommodation over the years.
A recent survey by travel website wotif.co.nz found 68 per cent of respondents admitted to leaving something behind in a hotel room.
The research pointed to Auckland as the place where most New Zealanders left behind both embarrassing and irreplaceable items, but the Waikato may produce a strong challenge to that title.
Every local accommodation business spoken to reported finding the usual suspects of clothes, books and cellphone chargers, which Karen Lyman, owner of the Tudor Motor Lodge in Hamilton, said were left behind in such numbers that you could almost start a business selling them on the side. "We find phone chargers for Africa," she said.Source: Click HERE
There were, however, some more obscure items found lurking by cleaning staff.
"We have had a chainsaw, a completely unwrapped pair of French ladies underwear with a price tag of around $500 on them and a couple of bottles of French champagne," said Murray Woofe, who owns the Ascot Motor Inn Taupo.
The underwear was reclaimed by the sheepish guest, as was the champagne before the motelier had the pleasure of enjoying it.
"We also had female and male wigs which we found together on mannequins in the wardrobe."
Adult items ranked highly on the list of forgotten belongings, with most red-faced punters usually calling back to reclaim their property according to Brent Cederman, from Raglan's Sunset Motel.
At the Frankton Hotel, duty manager Trish David-McBeth couldn't recall any strange items being left behind, but had experienced some out-of-the-ordinary things when cleaning rooms.
"There was a time around seven years ago when there were three single beds that had all been tipped up and made into a tepee. I'd love to have known what they were doing there."
Most establishments held lost and found items for three months and if they remained unclaimed were then donated to charities such as the Salvation Army."