The phone call

Around nine o'clock that morning I tried to phone Alo in Mexico. The phone rang and rang but nobody answered at her hotel. The operator asked if she should keep ringing and I said, "I will be very grateful."

After twenty times I told her, "Let us stop."

She said, "Fine," and it was all over.

O God! At twelve o'clock, when I went to check out, the girl had put a telephone charge of $27 on my bill, and I hadn't even gotten the party on the phone! I said to myself, "How can it be?"

At the desk I asked a man, "If I didn't get the party, why did I get a bill? It is impossible! Is this a service charge?" He said, "No, no, for this we don't have a service charge." But God knows for how many other things they did have a service charge! Just to take food upstairs they charged seven or eight dollars.

I was arguing with him, saying that my call was never completed. I said, "I am going to miss my plane. For God's sake give me the phone and let me speak to the operator."

The man said, "The girl went upstairs and she has not come back."

I said, "Either ask the girl to come down or let me go up to ask her."

I was getting annoyed. I was not going to pay $27 when I didn't get the party on the phone. I went to speak to the manager, a black man. He said, 'Hello! Do you recognise me? Do you recognise me?"

I said, "No."

He said, "I recognise you. Several years ago you were at the Sherwood Hotel with so many students. Charlie still remembers you. Now what has happened?" I said, "I did not get my party on the telephone, but they say I have to pay $27 for the call."

So he phoned the man at the desk and said, "What are you doing? Tell the truth! This is such an important person." What he heard from the man at the desk God alone knows, but to me he said, "Finished! You don't have to pay."

So the manager recognised me and said I was an important person. He used to come to the Sherwood Hotel. Now the name has changed. First it was the Eagle's Nest and now it is the Hamiltonian. Charlie still remembers me. He is the owner of the tennis store at that hotel — a tall, thin man. I do not remember seeing this manager, but he remembered me and he saved me $27.