Hotel Employee Manages 32 Hour Shift Alone During Hurricane

Camden Cook, Contributor

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Last Wednesday, 21 year old Satchel Smith, an employee at Homewood Sweets, took on a shift that would be much longer than anyone could have expected due to the tropical storm Imelda. Smith and all residents currently in the hotel were trapped inside while Imelda raged just outside, leaving him to take on every single task that the usual staff would usually have combined.

Such a difficult task was handle with “grace, kindness, and a beautiful smile on his face.” Every person of the 90 residents he managed for 32 seemed to be pleased while others posted about the man on social media, giving him much attention from all across the nation about the great service he had given. One of the residents, Angela Chandler, said, “He has manned the phones, answered each of our questions, ensured that we have had a hot cup of coffee or tea, and helped serve us a hot breakfast,” she then went on to say, “If you know Satchel, tell him he is our hero! What an example of how to handle yourself in a crisis! Goodness gracious! I will stay here next time just knowing that despite whatever happens, I will have someone putting our needs above his own needs. Thank you Satchel for taking care of us.”

So what tasks did he have to fulfill? Throughout the 32 hours, he was constantly switching between answering the phones, answering any questions that the guests had, all while fire alarms rang through the building frequently due to malfunctioning computer systems. In addition, he ensured that all of the guests had either a hot cup of coffee or tea while the storm continued to prevent entrance of exit due to flooding. Then the morning came, when breakfast was to be served. Smith had told CNN, “I’d never worked in a kitchen, I’m not really a good cook.” He was able to begin accommodating food starting with cereal, and then was able to offer more when a resident offered their assistance to help him in the kitchen, which he was truly grateful for. “The guests were very helpful. It was basically like a big family.” Considering all of Smith’s circumstances, he was able to pull off such a difficult shift remarkably well.

During the outside flooding, Smith’s car had been destroyed by water damage, making the weight of pulling off the 32 hour shift successfully even more tiring, as he is a full time student at Lamar University, and competes on the track and field team already gathering debt. The hotel took a moment to really thank him for the work he had just pulled off, and bought him a new car as a thank you gift for the young man. “I was always gonna be there for them, I would never plan on leaving. I don’t consider myself a hero, that’s just what I would do, I think anybody would do the same thing.”

The young 21 year old college student literally held up the hotel during a storm, and karma didn’t leave him unnoticed.