People working in the hospitality industry meet travelers from all different walks of life who are staying at their establishments for a variety of reasons.
The hotel or motel cleaners can silently judge those who they're servicing by observing the state guests leave their rooms in and involuntarily hearing noises from behind doors or in adjoining rooms.
Interesting anecdotes were revealed when Redditor perthThr0w asked:
"Hotel or motel cleaners, what is the worst / most disturbing thing you’ve come across while cleaning?"
The thread was overflowing with examples relating to sewage problems.
"Guest from overseas clogged the toilet and figured the tub would be his next best option. We found out weeks later when he checked out. We ended up calling a hazmat company to take care of it and then charged his company (who was paying for his stay) for the damages."
A Fecal Matter
"I asked this of a hotel manager when I went for a job interview recently. All the answers involved sh*t. Sh*t left neatly inside a pizza box was mentioned as the oddest, and the worst was sh*t in a kettle. Who sh*ts in a complimentary hotel tea kettle?"
Boo To Poo
"worked in a hotel through college as night auditor so usually i only got to hear the good stuff."
- "always hosted large groups for conventions, etc. One time was boys tennis team from out of state. every one of their rooms had sh*t in the toilet tanks, AKA an upper decker when they left; something like 100 rooms."
- "another time was a cheer squad and the pubic restroom was out of service for a week because they broke the toilet flushing so many tampons since they were all on the same cycle."
- "and lastly, had a homeless person break the lock to the roof access and was living up there for like a month before being found. he had basically set up a fully furnished home complete with a FULL SIZE MATTRESS. and lawn chairs. when they cleaned it up, found his 'sh*t corner' with a mound like 3 feet tall."
These were peculiar sightings, to say the least.
"I found a used condom filled with BLACK. To this day idk how it happened. It was just black goo. Similar to semen but black…"
Bag O' Birds
"Big rubbish bag full of frozen.. crows? Ravens? Black birds anyway. Just sat there in the hallway. Didn't really know what to make of that so I called Head of Housekeeping and it became her problem. Very weird indeed."
"Kinda wholesome story..."
"I have a friend that owns a small motel just off a highway. I would hang out with him and chat on some late nights. One night, he got a call that one of the guest heard a loud crash in the room next door."
"Checked the computer and saw that the room was unoccupied. Friend and I go to check it out. We knock and there is no answer. He opens the door and there was a cat in the room. It knocked over a lamp and smashed it. It was super friendly and came right to us."
"We took it back to the office and looked at the room records. The prior person that was in the room abandoned the cat when he checked out three days earlier. He was already on the other side of the country when we called him, and he said he was not coming back for the cat."
"My friend took ownership of the cat and now she is the motel cat. She walks all around the property and takes care of any mice or critters. She even has her picture on the wall as one of the 'employees.' Still was a dick move of the cat's old owner to leave the cat behind."
"Not me but my partner has a few."
"The one that sticks out to me is when he described walking in to the sight and smell of several dirty and semen-filled condoms melting/fusing themselves to the burning hot lamp/lampshade which had been left on, next to the bed. There were also assorted dildos and other sex toys (used, and also filthy) scattered all over the dressers/tables."
"Pretty sure he said he immediately turned around and walked back out."
Want Cream Cheese With That?
"I worked in the industry and I was at the front desk for this one, the guest discovered it. Our guest was just enjoying his morning bagel, toasted in our fancy toasters. Wife comes in the room and says there's a weird smell. Looking around, they check inside the toaster and the last guest of the room had disposed of their used condom in there. Half the bagel gone, the guest was quite upset."
"I used to work at a very well known hotel chain. I mainly worked at the bar but housekeeping were short staffed so I helped out for one day. The worst thing I saw was the manager telling us to not change the bedsheets to save time. This was my first day working in housekeeping, I can imagine the other stuff they did that I wasn’t privy to."
"I was cleaning rooms at a motel that had a contract with with a railroad so we very rarely saw customers that weren't railroad employees on a layover for their next trip. It was a great job as far as the customers go. We became a second family to them. They would tell us stories about their family and friends back home and they would get to know us as their extended family and friends. Quite possibly the most wholesome situation ever. Anyway, when I first started, I found a fried chicken leg bone in the shower, discarded in the soap dish. I can't get that out of my mind. There's so many unanswered questions... Did he always multitask by eating in the shower? How do eat chicken in the shower and not get soap/shampoo in it? Does fried chicken just taste better in the shower? Did he prefer leg meat or were breasts too hard to eat while bathing? This happened 5+ years ago and it still haunts me!"
Something sinister was at work here.
"This guy came in for a medical conference or something, he was a med school student. Very nice, we all liked him."
"The event ended and he extended for another week. NBD. His week ended and he didn’t check out, the housekeeper went into the room and saw his feet at the foot of the bed so she thought he was sleeping. I called him, no answer. Went into the room and he was dead."
"The police ended up putting together a timeline. Something happened and he got removed from his program? I’m not sure the details but the police traced his debit card transactions from bars to liquor stores to strip clubs, he had never drank before according to his parents. It ended with him buying a bag of heroin and dying in the hotel room. It was sad."
The Odor Gave It Away
"Found one too."
"3 days in a row, we couldn't reach a guest with a do not disturb on the door and expected to check out, but his card on file still cleared so we just extended him."
"One of the porters came down and said how the 5th floor was weirdly rank, and I immediately put the worst case scenario together."
"Myself, the porter, and our MoD came in, smell was like a shock to the system. He had a note next to him which I don't touch, but read before the police arrived. It was to his wife, he knew she was cheating on him with his best friend, and mentioned something about how since their kids were grown up, he had nothing left to live for. Mostly empty bottle of Smirnoff & a couple empty packets of painkillers."
"The hotel offered us counselling, which was nice, but we basically just returned to work and kept on with the shift."
When Ropes Raise Red Flags
"I manage a hospitality business. I'm always afraid something like this will happen."
"One of our current long-term tenants has big ropes in his room. The kind you see being made into a noose, even the cleaning lady said so. Turns out he's a self-proclaimed life coach/therapist, and SAYS THAT the ropes are used for binding therapy (binding people)"
"When I was 18 I worked at a hotel for a year. One day, this room was late for checkout so I was sent to go knock on the door. I knocked and a guy responded 'Leave me alone, I'll be out in a little bit'. Okay, rude, but whatever. I relayed the message to the girl working the front desk. I pass the front desk about 30 minutes later and she says he still hasn't came out of his room and sent me to knock again. I knock, no response, I ask if he's okay, still no response...he's just in there....groaning. We end up calling the police, they enter the room with a key card, turns out this guy had been in a car accident on his way to the hotel and had been bleeding internally during his entire stay. He was taken to the hospital where he later died (we only know that because he left all of his stuff behind and his family came to pick it up eventually). Upon entering the room to clean it, there was copious amounts of blood, vomit and shit EVERYWHERE. Bloody handprint smears and poop all over the bathroom floors and walls, even in the shower. It trailed all the way from the bathroom into the bedroom and onto the actual bed. I told management that I wasn't comfortable with cleaning it up and they essentially guilt tripped me by telling me that if I didn't do it my pregnant coworker would have to. I tied trash bags around my arms/legs and went at it, took me over an hour, had to wet vac the carpet and parts of the bed. They ended up renting the room out that same night, instead of having hazmat cleaners come in."
A Sad Case
"Not me, but my mom came across a corpse while cleaning one time."
"The door had a 'do not disturb' sign for far too long, and eventually she went in and found a dead man in the bathtub. Turned out he had killed himself."
Travelers tend to forget it's customary to leave a tip for housekeepers who clean up after you.
They work hard and must put up with a lot of...well, sh*t.
So the next time you stay the night at a hotel or motel, don't forget to show your appreciation for the people who make your beds and leave chocolate on the pillow.
They're doing their best to ensure you have a nice, clean, comfy room to come back to after your day out.
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Staying in a hotel offers the guest a unique luxury: live exactly as you'd like--within the bounds of the law, hopefully--and then walk out without cleaning anything up.
Then the staff swoops into to clean it all with unbelievable efficiency before the next guest arrives to do the exact same thing.
After all, that's a big part of what the guest pays for.
But some people completely overstay their welcome. They trash the place, break the law, ad leave things utterly destroyed. Or, in some cases, the do things that are absolutely puzzling.
karmeleon_ asked, "Hotel housekeepers, what's the strangest thing you've seen in a room?"
Keep That Thing Safe
"I mean, when you work in housekeeping, things related to sex, drugs, and just general grossness quickly become far less strange, lol."
"But my favorite story is when I had to get a witness to open a room safe that had been left locked by a guest. Its contents? One Taco Bell bean burrito. Best guess is a particularly drunken guest mistook the safe for the microwave."
A Deeply Uncomfortable Honeymoon Setup
"I worked room service at a mid-range hotel. One of the funniest things I remember seeing was during a champagne and chocolate covered strawberries delivery for a honeymoon package."
"This one was requested for delivery before the guests arrived, and I could tell the second I walked into the room that I was not the first person to have been in there. Someone had tossed rose petals around the room and added some decorations for their magical night."
"The one that stood out though: a 3'x3' print out of the bride's father with a massive, cheesy grin and a thumbs-up. It was taped to the ceiling directly above the bed."
Took Some Getting Used To
"I initially found it strange that high school/college aged boys will 'hang out' in each other's rooms completely naked."
"They'll answer the door, completely nude and 100% shamelessly and carry on a conversation with me as if nothing was out of the ordinary."
"At first I thought they were doing it for a laugh to see if I would say anything, but the amount of times it happened dismissed that thought. People are just strange."
Great Guests. A Little Too Great.
"My friends family ran a little hotel at the beach. Nothing fancy, but it was oceanfront. My friend once went to a room to clean, and found the ENTIRE place CLEAN."
"Not just wiped up and etc. the walls and ceilings had been scrubbed, the carpets looked like they had been shampooed, the tub/shower looked brand new (quite an accomplishment at the beach with super hard water and salt spray), the bed frame had been cleaned..."
"...the old beach furniture had been cleaned and repaired, the knobs and track on the sliding glass door had been polished, the railings on the deck had been thoroughly scrubbed, the dirty linens were stripped and folded with a sign saying 'dirty.'"
"We were kinda curious if someone had been killed or what."
My Bed, My Morals
"I worked at a hotel many years ago. We used to get professional sports teams stay for two or more weeks at a time."
"One team that came a few times was particularly interesting. Each room had two players (two double beds per room) and it was funny to see very religious books on one bedside table and porn on the other."
"The most disgusting thing I ever found was a used tampon in the bed sheets and condoms in the toilet. Come on, the bin is just next to the toilet and that thing doesn't flush!"
"I worked front desk at a hotel. Our housekeepers found a big purple sex toy in a room and brought it to the housekeeper's office."
"Laughs were had by all until it went missing the same day. Still don't know which one of my co-workers took it"
Two Horrible Messes
"I'm not a housekeeper but I worked at a hotel and there were two stories."
"The first, this couple on their honeymoon checked out in a hurry, and when the housekeeper went into the room there was sh** spread on the walls and a hole dug out of the mattress. Still no idea what went down in there."
"The second I guess wasn't discovered in the room, but a guest killed a woman, chopped her up, and put her in his suitcase and rolled it out of the hotel. A trail a blood led to the dumpster where he dumped the suitcase."
An Absolute Party In There
"I was a housekeeper for 3 weeks in a classy boutique hotel when I first moved to a different country before finding a better job. The first room I cleaned was one of the fancier suites, and upon opening the door, it was clear the occupants had set off numerous confetti crackers the night before."
"There was golden confetti EVERYWHERE. But most of it was concentrated in the bed and in the big clawfoot bathtub. Then a trail of wet confetti to the shower. Nightmare to clean up."
"My wife used to be a housekeeper for some cabins in a state park. One time, one of her co-workers found a brand new pistol tucked behind a dresser. Apparently no one claimed it, so she got to keep it."
"On another occasion, one of her other co-workers that was extremely religious, found a plate of home-made brownies and ate a couple of them. They turned out to be edibles!"
"She had never had marijuana in any capacity and ended up on the bed, slowly talking about how she thought she was dead and they had to call 911!"
Making Himself at Home
"Not me but a former colleague who used to work as a hotel housekeeper."
"The strangest thing he ever found was a Polish guest who had left the mini-fridge filled to the brim with sausages."
As a hotel guest: I won a company contest to fly myself and a guest to a week-long paid vacation; fancy hotel, free daily activities, etc. What they did not tell us -- and I doubt we were the only ones in this situation -- was that the company paid someone to brazenly ignore the Do Not Disturb sign, and enter our room to drop off free swag while we were away. Came back to find company-branded bluetooth earbuds nestled between the handcuffs and the pillows.
Lions, Tigers and Bears
After a decade of managing hotels, managing housekeepers, there are just too many things. Drugs hidden inducting and then they forget the room they had been in, so they checked into multiple rooms and broke multiple chairs trying to get to the ducts to try and find the drugs (they never did). Dead bodies. Too many sex toys. Lots of drugs. Guns. Swords. Torture devices I was unaware were legal. All the things that go in a standard room occupied by Steven Tyler (the mind boggles). The hospitality industry is an odd one.
Not a housekeeper, but worked at a hotel. The amount of times a housekeeper, or hotel worker, has found a dead body or other things, was wild to me. You obviously don't want to alarm guest, so they try to always use a back entrance/exit
No staff was traumatized
My sister's husband's family had something against grandma dying in the family home so they put her up in the nicest place in the city for what was supposed to be her final days. She lived another three and a half months and the bill was crazy expensive. I like to think she did it purposely.
They had 24-hour nurses and no hotel staff was traumatized.
Once cleaned a room where in the bed, the couple left behind both a pair of crotchless panties (ew) and a single, abandoned sock that was pink and had the male/female symbols linked as a pattern...proof that they are hetero-socks-ual, if you may.
I still laugh at that pun. My coworkers never did.
We also had a lady who I'm sure had schizophrenia or something who took apart almost anything electronic (alarm clock, tv, lamps, etc) and put alluminum foil over the air vents etc. Also smeared her feces on most of the walls. We lost in court when we tried to seek damages.
As listed, TONS of people think they are awesome friends/lovers and pop confetti glitter and rose petals everywhere in rooms.
Lots of firearms under mattresses get left.
A bag of sh!t, wrapped in a freezer bag and hanging in the free-standing cupboard.
This was the Marriot Hotel in Bristol.
The previous guests were two lovely ladies.
We had a group that would come every year for Passover. They had a bunch of rules and traditions that dictated certain things that they couldn't do during this time if it was "work". One of these was that they could not tear toilet paper from the rolls, the compromise was replacing the toilet paper with boxes of tissues. Pulling was fine, just no tearing. This also meant that if the toilet paper/tissue once used and discarded, did not make it into the wastebasket or toilet, they could not pick it up and the housekeeper had to do it.
Ok, sometimes super gross, but we respected it. What got us was one room not only had sh!tty tissue everywhere, but someone had taken the time to climb up on a chair, unscrew the air vent cover, shove a bunch of tissues into said vent, then put the cover back on and screw it closed. Not sure how none of that was seen as "work" but using toilet paper and cleaning up after ones self was considered work and a no-no.
Nothing too crazy but one time a baggie of pot fell out of the covers when I made the bed. I finished up placed it on the pillow. I think they left me a tip the next day...
Out of this world
I'm the front desk supervisor at one of the biggest hotel chains, the brand I work for is a 3-star category so nothing too luxurious! This is my first hotel job and I've been here for 2 years now! This hotel is a pretty new hotel, only 2 years and a half old! When I started working here we had a room that smelled like sewage for about a year, the room was out of order for the whole year, when they finally fixed it, the first person that checked into that room was out of this world.
He called the front desk a couple of times accusing us of throwing live bugs under his door and he requested new towels. As I'm walking up there with his towels, I see him running naked to his room from the other side of the hallway, I go back to the office & I tell my manager, he then calls the cops to have him kicked out. Once he leaves, we go into the room and we found cigarettes being dipped on bug spray, lots of them!! The smell of that room still haunts me.
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Housekeepers get to know their everything going on in their client's house.
Working with people in their most personal spaces is bound to lead to some secrets being exposed. Especially after years of servicing the same families, they get to know the most private things about the people they work for. For example, something hidden from a spouse can easily be stumbled upon while a housekeeper is cleaning.
Redditor u/Hunterofshadows asked housekeepers about the secrets they shouldn't know about their employers.
20. Scandalous affairs
"My mom is a house cleaner and she told me that one of her clients used to be a house cleaner to her now husband. Basically he left his ex wife to marry his house cleaner, he also took his kids and i wonder when the kids are going to make the connection"
19. Mom and daughter were too close
"The wife was too attached to her mother. The husband worked crazy hours and often had to travel internationally. One time, Husband was gone and she had contractors build the basement into a large suite. By the time he was back, his mother-in-law had moved, from Texas to Utah, into his home. The mother-in-law tried to manage the househould while my employers were away at work. The husband ended up buying the mother-in-law an apartment 20 minutes away. He also gave me use of the family vehicles as an apology. About a decade later, they're still together, but have moved accross the country to escape the extended family."
18. A hidden resting placeGiphy
"I was a house keeper for some extra money during summer, this old cute lady asked me to watch her house while she was on vacation, it was night time and I wanted a little snack so I walked to a cabinet in the car corner of the kitchen, moved some cereal boxes around and found a vase with the label 'hubby', It made me shed a tear not gonna lie."
17. Sketchy banking
"No at housekeeper but a personal banker. Lady went to the states with a few stacks of one dollar bills. Cam back to deposit the usd after her trip and accidentally handed me some rolled up hundreds and a coke baggie and condom fell out of her wallet.
She came in a few months later to change her salutation from Mrs. to Ms. as well as her last name, and freeze her accounts."
16. That hair didn't look real
"Was a housekeeper for a family for 9 years... I knew that the husbands hair on top of his head wasn't actually real. Well maybe it was real, but it wasn't attached."
15. The owner of the place must have been furious
"Once cleaned out an airbnb that looked like the two girls who last rented it were both on their period and just let it drain all over the bed, chairs and couch. Horridly nasty."
14. Interesting stuff in the closet
"Nanny here.. I do some light housekeeping as well, which includes the family laundry. Husband has a framed boudoir pic (no nudity) of the wife on his bedside table. Cool, whatever, happy marriage and all that. Known about that one basically since I started there. Last week however I noticed a pic on the wall in their closet (where I set the clean laundry basket) of the wife topless. Didn't really expect to get to know them on that level. Haha."
13. They probably know that this housekeeper knows...
"Went to clean a vacation condo. Cleaned everything, saved bedroom for last. All over the bed and floor, laid and spread out (pun intended), were Penthouse and Hustler magazines. At that moment, I thought I'd run out before the guy came back. But I already cleaned up the rest of the place. I HAD to dust and vacuum this bedroom. Cuz they knew I was there. I know the question presented is for something I know, they don't know I know, but ..."
12. Secrets from the wife
"Not a full time housekeeper, but occasionally house sit/baby sit for my neighbors. Before bedtime the kid gets an hour of game time. So i turned on the computer, getting it ready and I guess the dad forgot to close his tabs. But turns out that he has a lot of kinks/fetishes that I'm sure his very catholic wife wouldn't appreciate. He came back oblivious and I didn't bother telling anyone anything since it wasn't my place to do so."
11. Love letters
"I knew the couple I was cleaning for would get a divorce about 6 months before they did when I found a note from his lover in his coat pocket."
10. Their client's progress
"Dog walker, here. I was dog sitting for an older work friend once and saw her 'days sober' calendar. I was simultaneously sad, because I had no idea she was struggling, and happy for her because she had almost a full month marked off."
9. He couldn't wait for the bathroom...Giphy
"Not a house keeper but a nanny. A family once took me on vacation with them so I could watch their kids while they'd go out and explore the area. That week, my bed was the couch in the living room. It's late at night, the kids are sleeping, I'm laying on the couch and the parents get back. The dad says, 'is she sleeping' referring to me? I didn't say anything so apparently he assumed yes. He then started farting very loudly."
8. There has to be a line drawn
"My friend who cleans houses said she once had a girl who left dirty pads all over her room. She refused to clean it"
7. Secret passages!
"House I used to work at had a secret passage from the master bed to the attic, also a secret passage from a cabinet in the great room leading to the exterior of the garage"
6. Their legal troubles
"That she got a DUI. Typical religious white collar family; husband, wife, and 4 teen kids. She had one of those at home breathalyzer tests from the court sitting in the master bathroom, it takes your picture as you blow into it and it sends it to your probation officer. I only know because I was on probation a few years ago and had one too. Curiosity got the best of me and I looked at her public record...yup. DUI and she messed up on probation too, had another court date. After that I started noticing 12 step books and such."
5. The lawyer who likes to party
"we know a lawyer (who owns the company) in a pretty big office likes to have hookers come to the office on nights when the stadium nearby is hosting a game. He's married. There's also always alcohol in the trash cans..."
4. This unique collection
"I'm not a housekeeper but my late aunt used to be. One of her clients, who was fairly well-to-do, had a whole closet full of genital themed toys. And when I say 'toys,' I'm not using a euphemism for 'sex enhancement items' or anything like that. Literal genital toys. Windup penises with googly eyes on them, PEZ dispensers shaped like the most browsed pages of a skin mag (I suspect these weren't official PEZ brand), rather risque variants on 'pin the tail on the donkey', a Nerf-like gun that fired foam phalluses..."
3. The basement from "Parasite"
"There's a secret basement in the house behind a shelf in the kitchen, the previous owner did it."
2. Marriage troubles are obvious
"Haven't been a housekeeper in years but we can always tell when your marriage is falling apart. The amount of 'giving up' is clear."
"Our maid service found our positive pregnancy test in the bathroom trash, after presumably finding negative pregnancy tests in the bathroom trash for the previous 12 months. Left us a nice little congratulations note on my wife's nightstand."