The Christian organization Road to Redemption Ministries prepaid for a small group of homeless people to spend Christmas night at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington, Delaware.
However, the luxury hotel canceled the reservation.
Deb Bennett and her husband, Matthew Senge, who started Road to Redemption Ministries, wanted to do something special for the homeless folks because Bennett used to be homeless herself.
"People who have their nice cars and 8-to-5 jobs and houses to go home to, they don't understand," Bennett told The News Journal. "They don't realize that, at any given moment, they could become one of 'those people.' I know, because I did."
However, a Hotel du Pont employee called Senge a few hours before the homeless people were supposed to check in and canceled the reservation.
"He said verbatim, 'What if one of those people rapes or robs one of my guests?' So I guess you have to be homeless to rape or rob somebody. I was devastated," Senge told WDEL, which posted a copy of the hotel confirmation online.
Hotel du Pont representative Brendan McEvoy told The News Journal that the reservation was canceled because guests have to show a photo ID when they check in.
"Our primary concern is for the safety of all of our guests," claimed McEvoy. "If they do have ID, as Senge said Thursday they do, they would be welcome."
Lisa Bolten, director of Hotel du Pont hospitality, apologized for the cancellation and said in a statement, "Like all major hotels, we have a policy of requiring IDs from guests, and our employees followed that policy. We have invited Mr. Senge's guests to the hotel, as early as this weekend. If the guests do not have IDs, we will work with them to address that."
Prior to that offer, Brad A. Wenger, general manager of the Hilton Wilmington Christiana, said he would allow the homeless people to stay at his hotel for free.