Letter from Windsor Hotel guest

Published 1:36 pm Friday, February 24, 2017

The Feb. 5, 2017, letter from a guest at the Windsor Hotel, from Harrisonburg, Va. The letter was given to the Americus mayor and city council at its Feb. 23 meeting by Windsor Hotel owner, Sharad Patel.


”Dear Mr. Patel,

Thank you for talking to me recently about my stay at the Windsor Hotel in Americus. I want to first compliment you on the beauty of the hotel. It is a great addition to the town.

With that said, you know from our conversation that I was very disappointed with my stay because of the extreme street noise that kept my granddaughter and me from sleeping. I would like to document our previous conversation for your records.

My 17 year old granddaughter and I traveled from Virginia, a twelve hour journey from her home, to come to Plains to attend President Carter’s Sunday school class. We have been trying to make this trip for almost a year, and at the last minute, we were able to make the trip. Therefore, we weren’t able to make hotel reservations early. We had originally intended to stay in Macon and drive in on Sunday morning, but decided to look for something closer since we had to be at church so early. Someone at the church gave me advice about the hotels in Americus and we were excited to stay at your hotel. It was much more expensive than the other options but we were looking forward to a special stay.

You can imagine my disappointment when we only got a couple of hours sleep because of the noise from a bar across the street from the hotel. We could hear the thump, thump of the music from the bar and could tell when someone exited the building, but the biggest problem was the people who gathered in the street. They yelled at each other even though they had to be standing together. The language was unbelievable. To say I didn’t want my granddaughter to hear this type of language goes without saying since I had come to the area to go to church. Then they started their vehicles and raced their engines. Unfortunately, this did not indicate their departure. They stayed for a very long time and people continued to join them. The noise continued to increase. I tried turning on the HVAC fan and the TV to try to cover up the disturbance, but nothing helped.

They did not leave until almost 1 AM and by that time we were so upset that we had a hard time going to sleep. With the racing engines and screaming tires driven by people who were possibly drunk, I was happy that I was awake in the hotel room and not traveling on the two lane road that I had just traveled coming into Americus. I drove slowly on those roads because of a couple of deer that chose to do a travel dance with me, but there is no dancing with a drunk in a speeding vehicle. That is death.

I am sure most people would have called the front desk and complained but I tried to carefully think through my actions and here is what I considered. I was already tired when I arrived in Americus after a lot of travel so this disturbance caused some angry feelings for me. The person at the front desk had been very nice when we checked in and I did not want to lose my temper with her. I also didn’t want her to go outside and face these people. I was afraid for the safety of any employee who would face them.

They were rowdy and sounded as if they were drunk. I know the police could have been called, but I wasn’t sure that would be done. And then, I considered that I was a visitor in this town. The church in Plains offers an amazing opportunity for people to come to church and see President Carter. What if I caused trouble and people looked upon the visitors as a nuisance? You have to remember that at this point, I had not been to church. I did not know how welcome we would be. Also I had my granddaughter. As a parent/grandparent I feel the need to take the high road when others take the low road. I did not want my granddaughter to see actions from me that I might not be proud of later. I did not want this to define a trip that was going to bring peace and joy into our lives. I did not want this bad event to affect the message that we would receive the next day. Remember, my granddaughter had been looking forward to this trip for almost a year. This event was really for her and I didn’t want to do anything to spoil it even if the people under my window tried.

We got about two hours sleep that night. The next morning we were up at 4:30 for church. We arrived early and sat in the parking lot waiting to get in. We were early since I wanted my granddaughter to be as close as possible to the front of the church during President Carter’s class. While we sat there in the cold, we tried to sleep so we wouldn’t be so tired during the service.

The people at the church and the service were wonderful. As I sat there listening to President Carter speak of loving one another even when it is difficult and when he spoke of conflict resolution, I was glad I hadn’t lost my temper on the previous night, no matter how much determination it took.

Then we had the opportunity to hear a message from the police chief of Americus. As I listened to him speak, I periodically thought about how much I would like to tell him about the contrast between the words spoken in the services of this day and the language and actions of the people I heard in Americus the previous night. But, again, this was not the time or the place. My granddaughter and I, and the people around me, were so happy and touched by the service. Negativity did not need to enter the room.

With all of this said, I know that all of us have rights. The people outside of my window that night have their rights, but I do think that the people who stayed in the hotel that night also have rights. As a gift to my granddaughter, I paid a lot to stay in an executive suite. I wanted a good night’s sleep so that I could enjoy the next day; a day that not only included church but also included wonderful food from a local restaurant in Americus and visiting the sites associated with President Carter.

After coming home, I considered my options. I thought about calling the hotel to complain the next day but I was still tired and thought I might say things in anger. That is why I didn’t call until later in the week. I thought about leaving a review about the hotel on Yelp and other sites and tell future guests to find another place because they wouldn’t be able to sleep. I decided against that because it would affect a wonderful landmark in Americus. I also thought of the people who worked at the hotel and I didn’t want to do anything that would affect their jobs. I thought about calling the church and telling them to tell people about the other hotels and not to recommend the Windsor, but again, I hated the negativity of the call. I am also a CPA who had an accounting practice for many years and today I teach tax and accounting. I have been self-employed and faced difficulties. I have also stood with my clients and helped them through hard times. I did not want to add to the problems for the owners of the hotel, but I do want the owner of the bar to face the problems they are creating.

I also thought about solutions. What could be done to resolve this conflict? I don’t have the answer to that question, but I did think about the town that I live in. I live in Harrisonburg, Virginia and I am a college professor. There are more than 20,000 students here and those students have a lot of friends, and a good percentage of all of them party. I live in a loft apartment in the middle of a town that includes several breweries and bars. I actually live two floors above one of the most popular breweries and they have live music at times. The noise seems to be controlled and I thought about that when I got home. I never hear people in the brewery while they are there, and more importantly, I do not hear them when they leave even though several of them cross the courtyard outside my apartment when they leave. I guess I had taken it for granted before. Of course, I do know that the police are called when the noise exceeds the level allowed by the noise ordinances in town. And I am comfortable calling the police because I live here and know the laws. I also know that the company that I rent from is very strict about noise. You get one warning and the next time you are out of line, you are looking for another place. There is always someone on the waiting list for your spot. And there is a waiting list because the landlords take responsible actions to protect the town, the building, and the tenants. I am also a professor who is accustomed to correcting students when they go astray. I love my students and they love me, and they know I love them enough to protect them from themselves. I guess we all need a little tough love sometimes.

I will close by saying that Plains and Americus give visitors a wonderful gift by allowing us to visit and see President Carter. I did not come to Plains on a whim. My granddaughter, who doesn’t attend church regularly, admires President and Mrs. Carter greatly. Because of the atmosphere in the United States at this time, we are both also struggling with finding some peace and guidance. The trip was a way for us to talk about faith, peace, and our purpose in this world. It was a time for us to discuss and share our love for each other, family, and the people around us. It was a special trip, and I refuse to let a group of people spoil it for us.

I am glad we spoke on the phone a few days ago, and I wish you every success at the hotel. It is beautiful and a great addition to Americus. I hope to return with my daughter and son-in-law and all three of my grandchildren and I hope the noise issues will be resolved so I can feel comfortable staying at your hotel. I know you are a father and understand many of my feelings. It was a pleasure to speak with you and I appreciate the time you took out of your busy day to talk to me.