Special Needs Beware!

Our family was seated at the very back of the enormous dining room in the Drury Hotel in Greenville, South Carolina at about 8:15am this morning eating our breakfast.

I was feeding Ruby, our beautiful non-verbal 7-year-old African princess who also happens to be a quadriplegic in a wheelchair. Part way through breakfast we found that there was actually oatmeal on the breakfast bar so I went and got a bowl for Ruby as oatmeal is Ruby’s all-time favorite food!

”When I gave Ruby a bite she smiled, screamed and squealed with delight! A second bite brought another loud squeal with a gigantic smile! She was over-the-moon thrilled to have oatmeal! After all, oatmeal is truly her favorite!

FullSizeRenderAround us were between 10 and 12 other guests also eating, spread out over the room, which was probably at least 40’ x 70’. As I mentioned, we were off to the side at the back of the very room.

Suddenly, out of nowhere a man appeared (who later identified himself as Alex the Assistant Manager) and firmly stated, “You are going to have to leave because of her screaming!” Dw stood up and questioned incredulously, “Are you joking??”

This poker-faced Assistant manager assured Dw that he was not joking and continued, “We do not want her disturbing our other guests.”

Dw turned immediately, with the Assistant Manager still watching, and went over to each table (a couple were seated about 30 feet from us as well as a single person with a couple of kids) and questioned, “Is our daughter bothering you?” Everyone said she was not. I mean we were at least 30 feet from each of them.

I thought the manager had heard her squealing and didn’t realize she had special needs. I pointed to her wheelchair and said, “She’s non-verbal! She’s in a wheelchair! She’s just expressing her excitement!


His face remained stone cold, with not even a speck of compassion as he once again told us, “She has to leave immediately!

Tears began to plunk from my eyes. How could anyone have such animosity for a fragile little one in a pink wheelchair? This wasn’t the front row of a high-dollar opera, this was a hotel breakfast with a few other guests seated at least 30 feet from us!

Friends, most of you love, have prayed for and adore our Ruby. She has a fan club all over the world in fact! This Assistant Manager, who represents the General Manager and Drury Hotels Corporate office, needs to be held accountable.   He offered no apology, was not kind in any way nor did he offer any compensation. If you would like to tell Alex what you think of his actions here’s the hotel number: 864-288-4401. The General Manager’s name is: Michael Lopez and can be reached at the same number. Drury Hotels corporate office’s number is: 314-429-2255

When you are traveling you do have a choice in hotels. Please consider steering clear of Drury Hotels. Drury Hotels is definitely not a friend of special needs treasures.

30 thoughts on “Special Needs Beware!

  1. Done and shared FB- tagged with Greenville Drury Inn, so they’ll be sure to see it.. Left a message for Mr. Lopez and will call corporate tomorrow (closed right now.) I am so sorry this happened to you, and I hope something positive – like educating hotel staff and reaching out to your family – happens because of it.

  2. Just made my phone call! I’ve never left a comment but we do have a choice. What a horrible experience. I am so very sorry.

  3. I am so sorry that happened! I wish I would have known you were in Greenville, as I am not that far from there…would have loved to see you in person! I have been a blog stalker and I have both of your books. I hope the rest of your trip is so wonderful that this memory will fade….although I know that is terribly hurtful.

  4. I’m so sorry this happened! It’s terrible. I have called the hotel. Neither manager was available, but I left a message. The front desk receptionist was very friendly and sincerely apologized. She said they were inundated with calls! Good.

    Safe travels- Andy Loehr

  5. I called and spoke with the front desk, explaining what I wanted to discuss. The polite young man told me that he was aware of the issue and asked if I’d like to be transferred to the general manager. I said yes, thank you. I left a voicemail and explained politely that this is 2017, that Ruby is a very precious little girl who was literally brought back from the brink of death, and that she was having a breakfast of oatmeal, which is her very favorite, and she was merely squealing in delight. I told him that while I want to be respectful, I need him to know that it is completely INSANE for someone to ask the family to leave over this and that if I’m being honest, given this information, I’d pick ANY hotel over his line of hotels because of this very issue. I left my name and number in case he wants to call me back (I doubt it).

  6. I’m so sorry that this happened to you. I know how painful this is. I have a deaf adopted son has brain damage. When he uses his voice it can be loud, and since people can’t “talk ” to him, they can feel uncomfortable around him. (he signs quite well). Many are not comfortable with differences, it is there loss, but still very painful for the parent. I have had experiences similar to yours and have been asked not to bring my son places as a result.
    When you have some distance from this, I suggest you send a letter to this hotel management describing what happened and some more appropriate responses when someone like your daughter is a guest in their hotel. Reminding them that the Americans with Advisability Act allows your daughter access to their breakfast area even if her vocal sounds are a bit different from their usual customers. As a parent it can get exhausting being the educator for those who “don’t get” that kids like ours are deserving of
    respect and are not less then anyone else.

  7. Lonny,

    My heart broke reading this. I have called the corporate office, written on their website and shared on my FB page. God will not allow this to slip by unnoticed. Much love to you!


  8. Hi Linny, So sorry you were treated so badly. I did contact the hotel. As a director of disability services, I know a good bit about disability law, and would suggest if you don’t get an apology and indication that training of staff will prevent future behavior, that you contact the office for civil rights.

    1. Oh my gracious – NO!! Not at all!! Thank you in fact for commenting! My days are filled with Ruby and Birdie and the others and posting comments is a bit tedious! When someone leaves a comment for the first time, I have to moderate and allow it to post. Once someone has had a comment approved, all of their subsequent comments automatically approve. That’s why you might see comments suddenly appear and yours hadn’t appeared. Now that you have had a comment approved, any you ever post again will appear automatically! Hope that makes sense – bless you friend!! #Justice4Ruby

  9. I have been staying at this hotel since May and I am appalled by this story. I see the Shriners here all the time and with the hospital nearby I have seen a multiple of sick children stay here. I am a businessman that works here in Greenville and lives in Clearwater, FL. My wife was a pediatric respiratory therapist in a long term nursing home for children for 14 years. I never once seen a guest be taken back by any child here. I have had a few issues with this assistant manager, Alex, in the past. I will say, please do not allow his ignorance affect any decision about staying here. I have got to know quite a few staff members such as Melvin (Asst Mangr), the women at the desk, Nicky, Jen, Elizabeth, and others that treat everyone like family. I assure you the actions of Alex should not reflect on the hospitality of this hotel. I am sickened on the actions brought on by Alex but I am not surprised. My heart goes out to all of you.
    Craig McGann

  10. Linny, this is so heartbreaking. It sounds like they have all had enough phone calls and the message was sent loud and clear. My first thought is to be angry, but then my second thought is that maybe this man doesn’t know Jesus and hasn’t allowed the Holy Spirit to change him in the radical way that only He can! I pray that even though this has been traumatic and unfair to dear sweet Ruby, that Christ’s glory will be revealed for that man–that he would repent and come to know Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior and that the two of you would have an opportunity to reconcile. And that he can look Ruby in the eye and see what a miracle she is–created in the image of the one true God. We serve a big God. This is not beyond him. And it’s not like he couldn’t find you…I mean Ruby’s kind of a big deal! Love to you sweet sister!

  11. I have followed you for so many years, but I’ve never commented.
    I live in Greenville, SC. My company uses this hotel for many of our travelers. One of our employees is married to the front desk clerk, who very, very recently passed away suddenly from a brain aneurysm.
    I, too, called them and voiced my disgust with the treatment of your family. I also discussed it with our HR department.
    I’m so sorry that your trip to our beautiful city was marred with such ignorance and rudeness. We pride ourselves on being a warm and welcoming place to visit and live. I pray that this man learns from this situation and realizes how ugly his actions were. No one should be made to feel that way about their child.
    Love and apologies to your family.

  12. Your story reminds me of a story 2,000 years ago. The Greatest gift to mankind was not welcomed in the inn. Consider it a privilege that your Ruby is treated no worse than our precious Savior Jesus. This happens over and over again, because the spiritually-blind world can’t see treasure in an unfamiliar package. Ruby is indeed precious beyond measure, just as you named her so well.

  13. I have written on their website. This is UNACCEPTABLE. I have reason to visit Greenville occasionally, but you can bet I will not be staying there the next time I go.

  14. Not going to lie…I am horrible on the phone or when confronting people in person! My mind completely blanks and I forget what I wanted/needed to say. For hours afterwards I think of all I should have said and can’t any longer. Therefore, I did not make a phone call.
    I do, however, feel like I can write a pretty good letter and have done just that. I submitted a letter via Drury Hotels’ website under Customer Comments and Complaints (https://druryhotels.com/contact). I have also printed off several copies of the letter to send to Drury’s corporate office, to the General Manager in Greenville, South Carolina and to Alex himself.
    I pray that God will open the eyes of Alex (and others like him) to the beauty of special treasures!

    1. Thank you Lonni. I would much rather write myself. I pray, tweak, write, tweak, delete, tweak and finally have what I feel adequately expresses my thoughts. Hence, part of the reason it took me to long to do a follow-up. Thank you again!

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