Charlotte hotel apologizes for turning away soldier

Charlotte hotel apologizes for turning away soldier

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A New Hampshire mother says her son, an Army corporal, was nearly stranded in the streets of Charlotte after a local hotel turned him away due to his age.

Pamela LaPrell contacted WBTV after she says her son was turned away from the hotel because he was not yet 21 years old.

Army Corporal Hayden Harrington was returning back to base from spending a few days at home with his family in Danville, New Hampshire. He took part in the town's Memorial Day parade.

His trek back to base took him through the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

His mother say Corporal Harrington's flight back to Fort Sill, Oklahoma was canceled due to the weather in the Midwest.

Corporal Harrington worked with the USO at the Charlotte airport to book a room at the Baymont Inn and Suites along Scott Futrell Drive. The hotel reportedly sent a shuttle to pick up Corporal Harrington, but when he arrived, he wasn't allowed to check in.

LaPrell says when they saw his ID, the hotel told Corporal Harrington he couldn't stay. He is 20 years old and will turn 21 in September. The hotel reportedly has a policy that people under 21 are not allowed to rent rooms. Since the incident, the hotel's general manager issued an apology saying the employee was following company policy and was not aware of permitted exceptions.

LaPrell says volunteers from the USO, which helped him book the room online, called to ask the hotel to allow him to stay. LaPrell says Corporal Harrington's First Sergeant even called to ask for help.

Corporal Harrington walked across the street to another hotel, where he was allowed to stay despite a similar policy.

Wyndham Worldwide, who operates the chain, says Baymont Inn and Suites are independently owned and operated, but say they are looking into the incident.

"Thank you for bringing this to our attention," the company said in an email to WBTV. "Please know that the situation described does not reflect our brand core values. While the brand does not enforce an age policy, the hotel, which is independently owned and operated under a franchise agreement, 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 hotel chain asked WBTV to put them in touch with Corporal Harrington, so they could offer him some rewards points to use towards free stays at their hotels in the future.

Nita Shah, general manager for the Baymont Inn & Suites, emailed this apology letter to WBTV on Wednesday, addressing Corporal Harrington, Pamela LaPrell and the US Military:

Recently you were declined a stay at our hotel. Please accept our sincerest apologizes for this inconvenience. However, exceptions are made in specific instances (i.e., flight cancellation, Member of the military, etc.). The employee that declined your request was following our company policy, but he is new and was not aware of the permitted exceptions. We inform all employees to ensure this does not happen again. Although, this does not help you, I wanted you to know that we are taking this very seriously and are taking immediate action. 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. We hope that you will accept our apology and provide us the opportunity to serve you in the future.

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