A Groping: Part Two
I put my pants, which were now the shade of a nice marble ice cream, into a tub full of cold water and then I was finally able to eat my waffle. We sat around and discussed what we should do. Rehashing the events, we decided that we definitely were not going to stay at the same hotel that night. If The Groper was willing to inappropriately touch our derrieres in the breakfast room, certainly he would have the capability to find out which room we were in, grab a key, and come right in to have his way with us.
It should be mentioned at this point that the man at the front desk that morning seemed slightly strange. A little off. So, as we discussed checking out and explaining what had happened, none of us really wanted to tell the whole story to him. We thought about waiting until someone else was working. We talked about calling the police so that this employee would understand that what he'd done was, by no means, acceptable. We discussed a whole range of possibilities. At some point I somewhat jokingly suggested that I call my dad and ask him how best to handle this situation. You know, on account of the fact that he works in law enforcement. Kate* replied, "You know, I had thought about doing that."
When my dad didn't answer his cell phone, I called my mom to get his work number. After very briefly explaining the ordeal she replied, "You need to leave that hotel!" Assuring her that we would, she gave me the number. I was unable to reach my dad right away so I left a message. Just as I was finishing, he called me back. After I'd briefed him on what had happened and asked what he thought the best course of action was for us getting out of the hotel he replied, "You need to call the police." We went back and forth on this issue and eventually it became clear that we needed to make sure this man did not do this--or worse--to future guests.
I got off the phone with him and Kate called the front desk to see if we could obtain The Groper's name. After a bit of discussion about why we wanted it (information we weren't willing to share yet), he told us that it was Alfredo.
I called the police. I've called my dad's work many times over the course of my life but this was actually the first time I'd ever called the police to respond to something.
As we waited for an officer to show up, our phone rang. Kate answered. It was the front desk, inquiring, once again, as to why we'd needed Alfredo's name. Kate explained, once more, that we would come down and talk to him about this later.
About an hour after we made the call, an officer knocked on our door. We explained, in great detail, the events of the morning. I was fully prepared to say things like, "I realize that this is very minor but it was unacceptable." and, "My dad insisted that this was a situation in which the police needed to be involved." I never had to say either of those things. Our officer never gave us the impression that we'd taken him away from his busy day of fighting crime to report a silly butt touching. Instead he told us that we'd been victims of a minor sexual assault and that Alfredo absolutely had to be informed that this was highly inappropriate. Our options were to press charges which would warrant his immediate arrest or have the officer give him a stern talking to. We decided on the latter and asked if, once the tongue lashing had occurred, he would escort us to the office as we checked out since we had no desire to encounter Alfredo again. He agreed to that and informed us that if Alfredo was a registered sex offender, he would have to arrest him. We were certainly okay with that happening.
Another cop showed up and the two of them questioned Alfredo in full view of our room. We had the sheer curtain pulled and, occasionally, we watched what was happening. Several times during the questioning, Alfredo looked up at our window. This concerned me on account of the fact that it seemed like he knew which room the three of us were in. At one point, our officer disappeared and Alfredo was left with the other one. Then Alfredo used his phone.
And then, as I was across the room packing up my suitcase, Sylvia jumped up out of her chair and yelled, "They're cuffing him! There's a third cop and they're cuffing him!" The three of us nearly maimed each other as we flew to the window. Alfredo had never seemed agitated while he was being questioned. He never got animated or loud or abrasive. We assumed, at this point, that he must have been a registered sex offender.
A fourth squad car showed up.
The day, which was already surreal and insane, now seemed to come straight from an episode of The Twilight Zone. We were in Pasadena to hang out and have some fun and now Alfredo the Groper was being arrested.
When our officer returned to our room he asked if we'd seen all the commotion and if we could positively ID the guy. We did and then I asked what had happened. He'd denied that he'd done anything. "It was crowded," he'd said. No, it really wasn't. "If anything like that did happen, it was a complete accident." Sorry, pal, after the second time it became apparent to me that there was no way the light finger tip caressing could possibly have been accidental.
Our answer as to how he suddenly got arrested: Video Surveillance.
The breakfast room had cameras. Our officer only got as far as Sylvia's initial groping. He never even watched my double whammy. He said it was very evident. He said it was predatory. He said it was enough for him to believe that he needed to arrest Alfredo on the spot. The manager fired him immediately. Then the officer told us that Alfredo's wife was also employed at the hotel and was currently working. We felt incredibly bad for her. Not only did her husband lose his job and get arrested on the same day. He also touched a couple of women. A couple of women that weren't her.
When we left our room, after being holed up in it for about three hours, we were the center of attention and received stares by all the housekeepers as we walked by. As we walked toward the office, the sergeant who'd arrived fourth, commended us on calling in. She told us that too often people either call anonymously or don't report it at all. She said that we'd done everything right. I credited my dad.
The hotel manager, who happened to be the same somewhat creepy guy that we hadn't particularly wanted to share the story with, gave us our first night's stay for free and said that the second night was on him as well. We politely declined. We didn't want to stay there with all the commotion we'd caused among the staff and figured it would just be easier on everyone if we made our exit.
Later, in our new hotel room, as we went over the details of the day, Sylvia said something about, "Pulling an Alfredo." We decided, then and there, that this would be our new catch phrase. We used it in many different contexts during our time together. I wondered, out loud, how I'd write about that particular detail since I didn't think I should put his name on my blog. As it turns out, Alfredo wasn't his name at all. We're still not sure why we were told that was his name but, in any case, I texted my friends a picture of a pasta box from the grocery store yesterday.
"He'll always be Alfredo to me," it read.
And I won't ever look at an Italian menu the same way again.
"Alfredo" confessed after being taken away in a squad car.
After living together throughout our undergraduate collegiate experience, there were few things the three of us hadn't done together. Fighting crime was one of them.
Check that off the list.
*Not their real names.