As global women who know international travel, we all have challenging and fun stories to tell…here Jenn shares an awkward and ”now funny” one - enjoy!” 

My big sister was going to a conference in Oxford, and so since she was going to be on my side of the pond, we decided to meet up in London! I had gotten in early, but she did not arrive at our hotel until after midnight. Of course we stayed up chatting for another hour before turning out the lights.

Then, at 4:14 a.m. we were awakened by a loud alarm. In shock and confusion, we pushed every possible button on our cell phones and watches before realizing that it was the FIRE alarm going off. Certain that it was malfunctioning, and horrified that it might wake slumbering neighbors, my sister tried to call the front desk. The line was busy.

Out of curiosity, I peeked out our door and discovered that, in fact, the hotel’s fire alarm was going off and people were hurrying towards the fire escape. I grabbed a sweater and my room key, my sister grabbed her purse, and we joined the calm crowds in the stairwells, exiting in a collective haze. As we slowly gained consciousness we realized two disturbing things:

  1. Everyone else seemed to be fully clothed, while we were scantily clad and shivering in our jammies; and
  2. What my sister believed to be her purse strap was, in fact, a bra strap, which means that she had a bra hanging conspicuously on her elbow. Of course, we had no pockets in which to stash said bra.

We huddled together in the brisk morning air for about 25 minutes, trying to make small talk with complete strangers while wearing intimate apparel—a feat for which even pre-field training left me ill-prepared! Fire trucks hummed about, but we saw no evidence of fire. Finally we were permitted to go back to our rooms. Anxious for our warm beds, we were dismayed to discover that our room keys no longer worked.

Going against the flow of traffic, we walked the stairwells back down to the lobby (the elevators were packed to the gills, so walking seemed the wiser choice.) As mortifying as it is to stand outside in the dark wearing one’s night clothes, I can testify that is it much WORSE standing among fully dressed crowds in a brightly lit hotel lobby. But stand we did, as it seemed every card key in the hotel would need to be reactivated.

When we reached the desk–which was being run by ONE (yes, one) rather distraught night clerk, we learned that there had, in fact, been a small fire in one of the upper rooms. She did not have any details, but seemed rather traumatized that the only instruction that she had been given throughout the entire ordeal was to NOT leave her post.

Bra in hand and room key re-activated, we hoofed it up the stairs back to our cozy room. We drifted off to sleep thinking about fire alarm fashions and the beauty of a bathrobe!


©2014 Thrive.


Question to consider: We know you have one.  What is one of your “awkward and ‘now funny'” stories?