N.C. Hotel Apologizes For Turning Away Soldier Because He Was Under 21

| by Jared Keever
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A Charlotte, North Carolina, hotel has issued an apology to a young soldier that was told he could not have a room because of his age.

U.S. Army Cpl. Hayden Harrington, 20, was on his way back to his post in Oklahoma on Monday after a visit with family in New Hampshire for the Memorial Day weekend, WBTV News reports. During his layover in Charlotte, his flight was cancelled because of bad weather in the Midwest and he needed a place to stay for the night. 

Harrington’s mother, Pamela LaPrell, with the help of the USO, booked him a room at the Baymont Inn & Suites near the airport. But when Harrington arrived, he was told by the employee behind the counter that he was not allowed to check in because the hotel had a policy against renting rooms to people under 21. 

LaPrell said the policy nearly left her son — who turns 21 in September — with no place to stay for the night. 

“Anyone who is old enough to fight for our country should be able to stay in a hotel and not be turned away on the street,” she told WJZY News. 

Calls from the USO and Harrington’s sergeant were reportedly unsuccessful in changing the employee’s mind. 

Harrington was eventually able to get a room at the SpringHill Suites nearby, according to Fox News Insider. That hotel reportedly has a similar policy but was able to make an exception for Harrington.

Wyndham Worldwide, the company that oversees the Baymont Inn & Suites chain, said in an emailed statement to WBTV that all Baymont locations are independently owned and operate under franchise agreements. The brand, the statement said, does not enforce an age policy but the hotel in question “may have established such a rule as a precautionary measure or be following local jurisdiction.” 

“Please know that we are looking into this matter,” the statement added.

On Wednesday, Nita Shah, general manager for the Baymont Inn & Suites in Charlotte, emailed WBTV a written apology addressed to Harrington, LaPrell and the military. 

“Recently you were declined a stay at our hotel. Please accept our sincerest apologizes for this inconvenience,” the letter read.

“The employee that declined your request was following our company policy, but he is new and was not aware of the permitted exceptions,” the letter continued. “We inform all employees to ensure this does not happen again.”

Those exceptions include, according to the letter, flight cancellations and being a member of the military. 

“Although, this does not help you, I wanted you to know that we are taking this very seriously and are taking immediate action,” Shah wrote. “We appreciate all of our customers especially the members of our military who serve our country. There are many other hotels in the area and we are honored that you chose ours. We only regret that we did not honor you in return.”

Sources: WBTV News, WJZY News, Fox News Insider

Photo Credit: Family photo via WBTV News