The Night the Lights Went Out In Plano
It was something straight from a horror film...or a Reba McEntire song! Caddie and I went to Plano this weekend for a few site visits for some upcoming events and decided to stay in one of the hotels where we had set up a visit. We've stayed in this area before, but never in this hotel. In fact, when we're in this area, we usually stay in one of our favorite hotels, the Westin Stonebriar because I get points for every stay. But, I've recently started acquiring points for another hotel chain, so we decided to branch out. First impression of the new hotel...its located in a great area, a somewhat posh neighborhood. We valeted the car, checked-in and went to our room. The view is spectacular (I'm writing this post from my hotel room). Our room overlooks a nice little pond with a great fountain and well manicured lawns. Definitely an area I'd love to live in!
So...back to when we arrived to our room! We got a late start on Sunday heading to Dallas, so we didn't arrive at the hotel until around 9pm, which meant if we wanted to make dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, we needed to hurry! So, we quickly re-grouped, had our bags brought to the room and prepared to head out. Caddie called her mom, told her we had arrived safely and in the middle of her conversation...BAM! BLACKOUT! No lights! No lights in the room and no light coming in from outside. Pitch black. I quickly stumbled across the room only to hear Caddie calling out my name and telling her mom she'd have to call her back. I got to the door and opened it out to the hallway and let a little light come in. "Hum...there's lights on in the hall." Just as I opened the door I heard a women in a somewhat panicked voice saying "get back in your room. I said get back in your room!" She was yelling at her kids. Another women stuck her head out the door and said "Do ya'll have power?" I said "No mam, but we're headed out anyway so I'll stop by the front desk and let them know." No big deal...I figured someone on our floor tripped a breaker or there was a small power glitch. We'd head out for dinner and make sure the front desk knew the situation on the third floor. No big deal. Right.
(Before I get much further, I need to tell you that the hall to the elevator has the ability to be closed off...closed off with huge steel doors...doors that look like every other door in the hallway so one would easily miss them if they were closed...and the doors to the elevators on the 2nd and 3rd floors were closed. This is important for you to know.) We headed out into the hall, turned the corner, encountered the lady who was yelling at her kids who quickly asked if our lights were out, to which we replied "yes." We kept walking down the hall...and all of a sudden a slight feeling of uncomfortableness (if that's not a word, it is now.) swept over me. By now we were at the end of the hall and the lady yelled "Are ya'll gonna tell someone the lights are out?" I turned and looked back down the hallway and suddenly felt as if I was experiencing something from The Shining. I said "Yes, we'll tell someone." We turned and headed down the hall...passing the doors leading to the elevators for the first time. As the room numbers continued to grow, the halls felt as if they were growing longer and smaller. We turned back, passed the elevator doors again(still not realizing they lead to the elevators), and saw an exit sign for the stairs. Every bone in my body yelled "Are you stupid?! People die in stairwells all the time in the movies!" But, my little friend who was quickly becoming impatient with the hall search pressed on through the door marked EXIT STAIRS. Down the stairs we went to the first floor. One door marked FIRE EXIT ALARM WILL SOUND and the other marked FIRST FLOOR. We chose the latter...locked. Back up the stairs we went. Walking through the third floor halls again...passing the elevator doors again, to find another stairwell. And yes, we enter to find the same two doors and the one leading to the first floor was locked. I was at this point telling myself and Caddie to stay calm. No big deal. There's bound to be an elevator somewhere. We decide to try the 2nd floor. We come out from the stairs, pass the 2nd floor elevator entrance (cause the stupid doors are closed on this floor too!) and see people walking through the hall. Surely they know where the exit is. Wrong! They're going to the pool...or some dark, damp hallway that said it lead to the pool. There was no way we were walking amongst the massive plants and workout equipment to get to the pool...which was on the 2nd floor anyway...its not like we could exit from the edge of the pool! We press on to another set of stairs. Same thing. Dang it! Who locks the doors to the first floor?! What about the people who can't take elevators?! We pass several people in the hall...all looking confused, looking to us for an answer. Mind you, the lights are out on the 2nd floor too. Then, a voice on the intercom says there's been a power outage on the entire block and they would have things back and running as soon as possible. All I want to do is get to the lobby!!!! The halls start to look the same. We've passed the dang elevator doors at least 10 times now and Caddie is looking distressed. These doors look like maintenance closet doors! Why not have a sign saying ELEVATORS?! At any moment I fully expect a man with a chainsaw to come around the corner and chase us down. We pass a room, see a woman standing in the doorway with nothing on but her underwear and a bra, then we see an old couple wandering through the hall. Doesn't anyone know how to get out of here?! We trek back to the 3rd floor and run into a man that says "Hey, the elevators are still working." Great! Can you tell me where the freakin' elevators are?! We walk, and at this point we have people following us who were also searching for the elevators, hoping we knew where we were going. But we didn't. We head down a hall, only to come to a dead end. I turn to look behind us. The people following us have vanished. There's no one in the hall. At this point, I've prepared to die. I expect to see little twin girls walking down the halls or REDRUM smeared on the wall somewhere. We start walking the other direction and simply by shear luck, I reach for the unmarked, steel door. PRAISE THE LORD! It's the hall to the elevators! Why the $%&* was the door shut?! We ride the elevator down to the first floor, enter the lobby and see what looks like a small riot breaking out. Hotel staff are running around with glowsticks. Guests are standing in the lobby, looking helpless. At this point, all we want is our dang car! We stop valet, get the keys and head to the Cheesecake Factory. Which, at this point is now closed. REALLY?! What else could happen?! So, dinner at Friday's was sub-par, back to the hotel where the lights were now on. Let's hope the rest of the trip is uneventful! Our first night was fun enough!