****LATEST UPDATE IS LOCATED AT BOTTOM OF STORY*****
USAWTFM and the WTF Nation has never and will never sit idly by if one of our own siblings in arms, a veteran of any kind is mistreated. We were first notified of this story on Tuesday, 07 August 2012, at 2201 HRS EST via a message from one of SSG Chad Staples’ friends. After reading the story we were very upset and decided action MUST be taken. It is absolutely reprehensible, unacceptable and completely deplorable when any disabled person is treated with the disrespect Mr. Staples was shown. However, when that disabled person is a veteran then we take even greater offense and feel it our civic duty to demand action. So, we found the email information for the corporate offices at Best Western and emailed them. They replied to us and we will also share their reply with you. So, here is the story from beginning to end as to how it happened. You read and decide where you stand, was enough action taken?
This is the incident as written by SSG Staples:
I stayed at a best western in Monahans TX yesterday for a pit stop at a rate of 289 for six hours. It was a necessity at the time. For those who might get this message who don’t know me, I was injured in Iraq five years ago and am in a wheelchair. The elevator was down when I woke up, so I called the front desk. The conversation goes as such… Verbatim.
Me: Hi the elevator isnt working
Holly: It’s been down for about an hour
Chad: Can you send someone up to help me down the stairs ( I said this as calmly as I could, I know Shit happens)
Holly: Are you serious? (In a mocking voice)
Chad: (Explains that I am in a wheelchair)
Holly: Well, what do you want me to do about it? (she said flippantly)
Chad: Are you fucking serious? I’m in a fucking wheelchair.
So I made a formal complaint after the manager played dumb. The file number is 120806-3855.
The lady at the other end sated its a liability thing, and assured me the complaint would be passed on. But, we all know what goes on with these types of things.
So, I would like all of you to spread this message to others please. And everyone feel free to call customer support est western and tell them that you would like to boycott the chain untill a resolution o this issue is found. The address is:
PO Box 42007
Phoenix, AZ 85080.
So how did I get down the stairs? 3 flights. I threw all my bags down with my wheelchair and went down on my ass.
Obviously upon reading this story you cannot help but to be completely apalled. We were. So, although our initial instinct was to put this in front of the WTF Nation and let nature take its course, we decided to be more responsible. We were able to find an address, normally used by media, for the corporate offices at Best Western and sent the following email on 08 August 12 at 0054 HRS EST :
Thank you very much for your time and thank you ahead of time for your prompt attention to this matter.
We still do not know the details of how, or IF, he was compensated for his stay. Best Western has not indicated they are taking ANY steps to provide BETTER training to ALL their employees to prepare them to deal with disabled persons in their hotel. We were able to confirm that Holly is still an employee at this hotel, because she was on a regularly scheduled day off today and returns to work tomorrow. In my opinion, they have literally done nothing outside of an apology to rectify this situation. We are not seeking merely justice for SSG Staples but to ensure this never happens again.
We cannot truly expect Best Western to tell us what, if any, punitive action was/is being taken in regards to the employee, Holly, who was solely responsible for mocking SSG Staples and denying him assistance. However, for those who say she is solely responsible for this whole incident, you are wrong. Why didn’t Best Western’s policies prevent him from being on the second or third floors to begin with? Plus did you know that recently, within the last few months, a Texas law was passed indicating that all hotels claiming ADA compliant transient living spaces had to also follow several new laws?
This BW claims that status and must comply with these laws. One of the regulations was that all employees must be trained to recognize and triage physically challenged personnel so that they don’t suffer the way SSG Staples did. If they do fall into ADA category then they must be treated accordingly. They have over 40 ADA rooms at this hotel.
Plus, in the event that a physically challenged individual needs aid due to some failure at the hotel they must also have an urgent response plan to facilitate the needs of the physically challenged. This is also is an OSHA requirement. FAIL
In the response to the claim Best Western posted on CNN’s website which indicated that the elevator was not functioning due to a power outage. Our friends at Danger Zone radio (www.blogtalkradio.com/dangerzoneradio), Maniac to be specific made contact with TXU, OTIS elevator and the gas station across the street from the hotel. Power was out at the hotel for approximately 2.25 hours.. However, get this, it happened 12 HOURS prior to the event. They had power.
OTIS services this hotel and has an emergency service clause in their contract. The inspection of the elevators was done recently. This inspection is public record. OTIS never received a call. OTIS indicated that the hotel elevator is designed to return to service once power is restored. If something was wrong with the elevator then staff is required to call. They didn’t.
The gas station across the street confirmed the power outage but also confirmed that power was out for a short period of time and that they saw the power return to the hotel.
Also, remember the little cop out they used about the hotel being “independently owned and operated” so as not to bear the full brunt of the situation? Well, upon contacting the hotel we found out they have been informed that they aren’t allowed to talk to the media. So, they try to wash their hands of their actions but are in conclusive control of their actions. Sorry, Best Western, your smoke and mirrors won’t help you here.
Lastly, we are in contact with a high school associate of Holly’s and are working to get an interview, or at least a statement from Holly regarding the situation. Major media outlets have been notified and we are not going out quietly on this one.
Our Follow-up Email to their “apology”
Thank you for your reponses to our emails and for your attention to this matter. However, we are writing this email to inform you of our actions and our feelings regarding your response.