No room at the inn

No room at the inn

Hotels in Tallahassee, Florida, are throwing refugees out of their rooms to make way for college football fans. There’s a Miami-Florida State game Monday night and that takes precedence, they say.

“This weekend has been booked for a couple of months,” said Antwan Hinkle, the Quality Inn’s front desk manager.

Hinkle said people who have planned trips for months would not take it well if they were told just days before the game that the hotel could not provide rooms. “We’re going to have a whole bunch of angry people,” he said.

Here’s what you tell those angry people. You tell them that there is a national crisis going on and that it isn’t business as usual. You tell them that their football game is not as important as the devastation and loss suffered by more than 1 million people. You tell them that there will be other football games, but that right now families in need take precedence.

My guess is that most people would understand. The rest can lump it.

[Hat tip to Bill Cork.]
Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • Un friggin believable. I just saw a photo of an older man dragging a suitcase along the highway where a less that full car was also driving. Maybe we are really not a Christian land at all anymore.

    Antwan Hinckle I shall punch you in the nose if I ever meet you.

  • Hey, Dom, I just happened upon this article from

    It appears that an email went out to those with reservations asking them if they’d give up their rooms.  It also says that under Florida law, they must honor reservations.  There is also work being down to try and get the refugees into shelters.  But why should they be displaced yet again is my question.

    These are extraordinary times calling for extraordinary measures-even in the Florida legislature if need be.

  •   Do you suppose it would do any good to email the corp. HQ of these chains, such as Quality Inn, &/or the franchise owners, to tell them that if these policies are not changed immediately, they’ve lost our business permanently?  Perhaps it won’t have any effect, but I feel a need to at least express my indignation and disgust to them. 

    For that matter, why don’t these colleges cancel their games for the next couple of weeks?  I heard some local students on the news this evening who said that it doesn’t seem right to carry on as if nothing was happening.  They want to find some way to help and are more than willing to work.  Football, tailgating & parties are not what those kids care about right now.

  • Great comments.  I might add a solution.  How about having the football fans stay in the shelrters, free of course, and have them donate the $$ they would have spent on the rooms to the needy.


  • Florida law – the law that says that food and water are extraordinary means of life support.

    I read this AM that police and soldiers are actually preventing people from walking out of New Orleans.

  • UAHmama,
    I’m with you.  When we were attacked by others our nation stood still.  We were attacked, as it were, by Katrina and it just seems odd that life for many simply goes on.  Every TV station carries it’s regular programming, every thing seems to be, well, “back to normal” and for thousands, they don’t enjoy the luxery of food, water, privacy, safety, clothing, vehicles, let alone gasoline…

    I don’t know, it just seems… insane.

  • Agreed, Dom. Of course I have felt for a long time that too much emphasis is placed on sports at educational establishments at all levels. Forget the damn game – help the people in need!

    I was struck by this the other night as I watched the local news. After giving some attention to the disaster, they switched to the opening of a new “Crate and Barrel” store in Milwaukee. There was something incongruous about young upscale women swarming over the store and exulting that they now won’t have to drive to Chicago for these goods.

    Yes I know, life goes on – but a little perspective would be appreciated. The contrast between people who have lost everything, without the basic necessities of life and these yuppies ogling expensive goods they don’t even need was too much. I turned off the set.

  • Nonsense,

    Life goes on.  Play the football game, quit grousing.  If you can make it to Talahasse you can make to any number of other hotels in the area.

    If 1/10 of the people expressing outrage at the hurricane would do something about it rather than condemning football fans, the problem would be over by now.


  • See, I can appreciate satire when I see it. Nobody could so callous or cruel as to suggest that football game is more important than families who were completely wiped out, who’ve lost jobs, homes, and every material possession, not to mention friends and relatives in a storm.

    Nobody would be so cruel as to say “life goes on, move to another hotel, let me watch my football game.”

    Bravo John for such satire and parody.

  • I think it takes a lot of temerity to criticize hotels who’ve taken in refugees by saying they haven’t done enough, or for a long enough period of time.  Perhaps we can next condemn Kuwait for only offering $500 million, because surely they can afford more!

    Surely the refugees can get hooked up with another hotel in the chain.  Unless there is some reason that it is of the utmost necessity that they stay in Tallahassee and nowhere else for another week, month, year?

  • Nguoi,

    It’s not like these refugees are staying there for free. Let me repeat myself: They’ve lost EVERYTHING! They are in desparate straits. Some people have very little money left. Are we going to tell them to drive hundreds of miles to some other hotel on the off-chance that there will be a room for them just so some football fans can watch their game?

    I’m having trouble understanding why charity and concern for another’s well-being ends at the front gates to the football stadium. I’m taken aback at the lack of compassion.

  • Dom,

    No need to be a drama queen.  Why do you have such a fixation on these people staying in Tallahassee come hell or a football game?  You say that the people have little or no money yet are paying $100/night for a hotel room, and you insist they continue to do so, and it must be in Tallahassee, and you deny that the hotel is helping or would help them find a room in another hotel in the chain, that they must set out aimlessly and drive 100 miles and check each hotel in person to see if they have a room free.

    I think you’re really creating a conflict and looking for people to blame for something, anything. 

  • Drama queen? You’re suggesting that it’s okay to throw out homeless refugees who’ve just lost everything in life so that some football fans can pretend that a major American city wasn’t just destroyed. You don’t have to be a drama queen to find that incomprehensible.

    I’m astounded that people are going on as if nothing happened. This is the worst natural disaster to befall our country in its entire history. More than a half million people have been turned into refugees.

    I just don’t get it.

    I suppose after 9/11 you were wondering why everyone was being such drama queens and not allowing them to play football or baseball.

  • Dom,

    I am with Nguoi. It is long since time to get to work on fixing the issues and quit blaming football fans for the failure of government.

    I was 100% in favor of playing baseball after 9/11, and am 100% in favor of playing football this beautiful weekend. 

    No pretending here, lets help get the counry on track and stop throwing up our arms in desperation.


  • Let’s be clear here. I don’t give a rip about the football game. I’m mad that refugees are being tossed out of their rooms and told to go find someplace else so that some people can show up and watch a game. I’m mad that people are acting as if a major American city wasn’t just nearly wiped out and its citizens made into refugees. This isn’t business as usual people.

    This is 100% about helpingthe people who were hurt by this. How does it help them to toss them out of their rooms? It’s not the government’s fault these people are being tossed out either so don’t even try that now-lame tactic.

  • Sorry Dom, but it does not seem to be this way to me. 

    The legitimate holders of the reservations are having their reservations honored. 

    There are hotels all over Florida, many of which have special arrangements for displaced people.

    The only way to get things back to a some degree of normalcy, it to get things back to normal.  Don’t close stockmarkets.  Don’t cancel football games.  Don’t ration gasoline.  Don’t turn away hotel guests. 

    I am acting in the best interests of the country by applauding business as usual rather than throwing our hands up in desparation, claiming there is just no way to ever return to normal.


  • There will be a time to return to business as usual, but this isn’t it, not in this case. Just saying things are normal, while we close our eyes and wish that people weren’t in desparate need is foolish and uncharitable.

    So these people are shuffled off to another hotel. What happens when the people who hold those reservations show up? Do we kick them out ofthere too and send them wandering on their way to the next hotel and so on and so forth?

    These people aren’t going to be living in hotels forever. Why not show some compassion for them in the short term until they find a more permanent solution for themselves?

  • Well Dom,

    The sooner the better for back to normal.  No need to stew about this.

    Imposing one’s version of compassion on others does not get us very far.  I am much more inclined to let people determine their own levels of giving and compassion than to impose my opinion of proper grieving levels.