Let me say right away that I love pranks, I’ve pulled quite a few of them myself, but what is happening in these hotels takes things way too far, and could seriously injure someone.
Imagine getting a phone call in your hotel room from someone claiming to be from the front desk.
The employee informs you that there is a major gas leak, and you are told to throw the toilet tank out the hotel room window You are then then told to break through a wall using a lamp.
Then the caller instructs you to throw the mattress out the window to catch your fall when you jump out of it.
It all happened in a matter of minutes, until the hotel manager knocked on the door to address a noise complaint. $5000 in damages later, it turns out it was all a joke, pulled off by people that could be anywhere in the country.
Hotel owners are being warned to be aware of this new phenomenon, but in many cases the damage has already been done – $50,000 in damages to an Arkansas hotel as part of a “fire alarm test”, $10,000 in Alabama after a guest was told to activate the sprinklers in order to put out a non existent fire. Or how about the Nebraska hotel where an employee asked a trucker to drive through the lobby as that was apparently the only way to silence the fire alarm he had just set off.
Let it be a warning to hotel staff and guests – be alert for anything suspicious as normally would, but don’t fall for phone calls demanding that you do things that don’t seem right. If there is a gas leak, it won’t help anyone if you trash the room. If someone calls your hotel room with weird demands, and claims to be from the front desk – hang up and call the front desk yourself.