Saturday, May 18, 2013

15 minutes of fame - in Nashville

'Unhappy hotel guests shown door at gunpoint'. That was the headline in the normally sober UK Daily Telegraph today - telling the story of how two friends and I were treated when we arrived in Nashville at the start of our US road trip last month. This is how I reported it on the blog:
'We were due to meet the fourth member of our group, Lee Wilkinson, in Nashville but when we got to the hotel (the Knights Inn) the desk clerk said he hadn't arrived and there was no answer on Lee's phone when we tried to call him. We killed time by having a hot dog and an English beer in a bar in Printer's Alley and returned to the hotel. The desk clerk refused to let us use the rooms that Lee had booked and the inevitable row ensued, resulting in the three of us being escorted from the premises by an armed security guard. So, at 1am, with no sign of Lee still, we had to find another hotel, eventually getting a suite at Comfort Inn.
Next morning we went back to the Knights Inn to find that Lee had been there all the time.He had been let down by Virgin which meant that his phone wasn't working. The desk clerk had simply lied to us.
Fellow group member John Howard - like me a journalist by profession - was so incensed by this that he wrote the story up and got a pal to send it round to the UK national press. The story ended up in the UK's top selling paper The Sun, also the Daily Mail, The Times and London Evening Standard, as well as the Telegraph, which said that we had been 'frogmarched' out of the hotel by an armed guard 'at gunpoint'. This was a slight exaggeration, as we left of our own accord once the idiotic hotel desk clerk called the armed security guard 'Mr Miller'. Nevertheless, the experience left a bad taste in our mouths and did nothing to improve the reputation of Nashville as a tourist destination. The newspaper websites used a photo of the four of us at the Grand Ole Opry, which is reprinted below. Glad to say that our trip went well after that, but what a welcome!


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