Thuggish Hotel Manager Shares Powerful Business Lesson With Petty Power Trip
"Mr. Newcomb..." said the voice on the other end of the line.
"This is the hotel manager. Did you break the rules of the hotel this morning?"
Silence. I could practically feel the white-hot lights in the interrogation room burning into my skin, my freedom hinging on what I would say next.
"Mr. Newcomb, did you break the rules of the quarantine this morning?"
"Did you see me breaking the rules?"
"I saw it on the video camera."
"Mr. Newcomb, would you like me to assist you in moving to the army barracks to do the remainder of your quarantine? Because I'll be happy to do so if that's your wish."
"Now why would you do that?"
"We notified the local authority, and they told us we should send you to the army barracks because you broke the rules of the hotel this morning."
"I need some water sent to my room."
"The big 19 liter jug."
"Okay, it's coming right up, sir."
The water arrived a few minutes later.
The above conversation actually happened this morning at the hotel where I'm serving my mandatory 14-day quarantine upon my arrival in Vietnam to live with my wife Sana.
What was my crime? you're probably asking.
I walked outside my room in the hallway, attempting to mimic something that resembles a walk. It was 6 am, and not a soul was in sight. But the rule clearly states that "guests" are not permitted to leave their hotel room for any reason.
Now, I don't mind rules that are intended to keep Covid out of the country. It's their home, I'm more or less visiting. What bothers me, whether for disease prevention or anything else, is rules that exist just to exist. And people who enforce them for no other reason than they're there - common sense, or the mental health of paying guests at a hotel be damned.
As petty and childish as the hotel manager was, there's an important lesson to be gleaned from this experience.
From my perspective, these people are unreasonable, to the point of being even fanatical in their hyper-compliance with the rules.
But it kind of puts to shame many who have a business, a side-hustle, a ministry who don't have the same zeal.
I'm not saying we should emulate the indifference to the welfare of other human beings. But in the spirit of not throwing out the baby with the bath water, there is an important lesson to be learned from this other wise negative experience.