I was working at a small hotel in a little town outside of Prague after graduating from college. It was my first week on the job, and I mostly worked the front desk helping English-speaking tourists. One night, a big study-abroad group of Americans checked in. This particular group was pretty large and filled the entire hotel. After checking everyone in, I really had nothing else to do but put up the “No Vacancy” sign and hand out keys. After I explained to the students that the hotel closed at midnight (locked doors and everything), we began talking about their experiences in the Czech Republic.
Naturally, they wanted to know where the good drinking spots were, and I was more than willing to point them to my friend’s pub down the street. I could tell they were getting a little anxious, and since the hotel was already full, I was no longer needed there. I volunteered to lead a group down the street to my friend’s place. Soon, everyone was drinking and having a good time, and the locals were especially happy because Americans are good tippers. Time passed, and 10 p.m. was approaching, so I reminded the students to get home by midnight and wished them a pleasant evening.
Coming into work the next day, I noticed that the hotel was suspiciously quiet. My boss had told me that we had a break-in, and that the window to the second floor suite had been broken. During the continental breakfast, I caught up with my hungover American guests and asked how last night went. They told me that one of their friends ended up staying at the bar after midnight and did not come home until 2 a.m. They knew it was him because they heard a banging noise outside from their friend trying to get into the hotel. After these vain attempts, he proceeded to climb to the second floor of the hotel, using the lightning rod for support. You can see how his endeavor moved the rod around in the attached picture, and if you look closely, you can see shoe prints. His knocking – in an attempt to wake his sleeping colleagues – actually broke the window.
He was able to sneak back into his room, and his friends let him in before anyone had figured out what was going on. The Czech adviser for the students told my boss that they did not know what happened and that they saw a man dressed in black escape the scene. My boss took him at his word, but when I confronted the adviser after his story, he slowly put a finger to his mouth and said, “Shh!” with a hint of former KGB twinkling in his eyes.
After this, I suggested a change to the hotel’s policy of closing at midnight, at least when Americans were staying.