View Full Version : Had to use the "Magical Key"

03-30-2010, 01:04 PM
Two stories, the first story happened last week, which reminded me of the second story which happened a year ago.

The Magical Key

One of our housekeepers calls down and asks if we have undercover cops on the property, since someone was pounding on one of our guest's doors and screaming "We know you're in there." Since I know nothing about it (law enforcement here are just great at keeping us in the loop when they're on our property), I head back to discover 3 plain clothes DOC officers.

They have a warrant to arrest a woman who they believed was in the room. The registered guest had already left, but he'd paid for two people and housekeeping had only seen him leave. So I sent the DOC officers with one of the housekeepers to open the room and see if anyone was left in there.

DOC officer comes back.

DOC: "The key didn't work."
CW: "Did the lock flash red and green?"
DOC: "Yeah, and it wouldn't open."
Me: *thinking: crap, please don't make me do it.*
CW: "That means the deadbolt is on. So someone is in the room."
DOC: "Can you override the deadbolt?"
Me: *thinking: yeah, but do I have to???*
Me: "Yes, let me get...the Magical Key..."

DOC seemed to like how I dubbed it "Magical."

The Magical Key (aka Emergency Key) can override any and all deadbolts. The thing about the Magical Key is that I have to fill out a sh*tload of paperwork whenever I use it, though. Fortunately, at least I can unlock the lockbox it's in, since would have to fill out a sh*tload more paperwork if we had to bust the glass on the box to reach the key (though, if you're careful, you can actually slide the glass to reach the key without breaking it).

Before we opened the door, though, DOC had to ask:

DOC: "Do you have those security latches inside the door, too?"
Me: "Yeah, we do."
DOC: "Okay, we may need to kick in the door..."
Me: *thinking: Maint Man will really love you for that...*

Fortunately, once the woman in the room realized that we could open the door despite the deadbolt being on (or when she was done flushing all her drugs down the toilet), she finally opened the door and surrendered. I saw them take some heroin and a prescription bottle out of the room when they brought her out, and it looked like they were having a field day searching her car as well.

I thought about actually writing "Magical Key" in my incident report, but decided against it. Whenever I try and be creative whilst writing those drab reports, I get a scolding. I feel sorry for the poor fellow who actually has to read through those things.

Of course, if you really need the key, I'd rather you ask...

This happened about a year ago, and the lock on that door is still a little messed up from this incident.

Girl calls 911 on her cell phone. Her friend is locked in the room and possibly OD-ing. EMTs arrive and before they get here know the deadbolt is on.

Do the EMTs:

A) Inform the front desk of the situation and ask if they can override the deadbolt, or
B) Spend an inordinate amount of time trying to break down the door to get to the woman.

If you picked B, congratulations!

Now, I don't know what our doors are made out of. I don't know those sorts of things. All I can say is that they're burly, heavy, and a pain in the a** to have to carry upstairs.

Emergency responders started to use a battering ram to bust down the door. Eventually, they figured out that wasn't working. So they pulled out a saw and sawed the lock off.

In the time it took them to bust through our door, we could have overridden the deadbolt and gotten through the security latch (any arse with a wire hanger can get through those latches), and they could have already begun treating the woman. It would have been much, much faster, and caused a lot less damage to our property.

The EMT's response? "We didn't know you could do that."

Um, hello? It's an electronic lock, which means it's very likely we have an override. Even if it's a hard-key lock, we'd still have a master key. I mean, we have to be able to get into our rooms. One would think that emergency responders would have this common sense.

03-30-2010, 03:19 PM
One would think that emergency responders would have this common sense.

You would be amazed at the number of places that either will not, or cannot use overide keys - or the staff are wholly incompetant in knowing of their existence.

It's also worth bearing in mind that they probably cover quite a few hotels and they won't be able to memorise every procedure in every one.

Andara Bledin
03-30-2010, 03:25 PM
It's also worth bearing in mind that they probably cover quite a few hotels and they won't be able to memorise every procedure in every one.
True, but it would still be worth their time, nearly always, to have a guy pop over to the front desk and ask. A question takes only a few moments, and is a lot less difficult than trying to batter down a hotel room door.