Written by Evi Idoghor
My friends stayed at their sister hotel, which was kid-friendly, while I stayed at the adult-only hotel, where I was the only one of the 11 people who came on the trip. Every day found me getting ready and prancing over to their hotel to begin the day's activities. I spent 30 minutes looking for my room one day after returning to my resort to relax before the evening activity began. I paced back and forth, searching far and near, but my room remained enigmatic.
I dashed over to meet this petite lady who was standing outside one of the resort's check-in areas. I was irritated at this point and told her, “I can't seem to find my room!” As if she were the one to blame for my misfortune. “Don't worry, Senorita; I'll assist you.” She entered the check-in area, with me close behind, and asked for my full name, which I immediately provided “Oh, there you are, room 3918, block B.” I had been giving the cleaners the wrong room numbers. “I'll walk you to your building.” Relieved, I replied, “thanks,” as she grabbed a file, and we began our 15-minute walk to my building.
“I discovered your room comes with a spa option,” she began, “have you used it?” “No,” I answered back, surprised at this new piece of information. “Well. It comes with hydrotherapy only, but I can include a $200 massage credit for you to use tomorrow morning.” 200 dollars for a massage session? What are they putting in your body?
I replied, “thank you!” “Also, our hotel is building a new property, and if you sign up to become a member, you can start building points to get a free four-night stay at the new property. Trust me, it is way gorgeous than this one! All you must do is fill out this form, with your name, full address, and the last four digits of your credit card, which we just need to enter a raffle draw, and you will be good. It doesn’t cost anything.”
“It doesn't cost anything, I'm never going to use it, let me just get her off my case and get to my room,” I thought as she continued with her pitch. So, I filled it out, and she reminded me to meet her at the same location at 8:30 a.m. the next day for my massage, "remember to bringthe card with you for the draw," she said as she bid me farewell by my room. I entered, relieved, to unwind for a few moments before heading out for the evening activity.
It was no more than 8:15 am when a phone call jolted me out of my sleep. “Señorita, I just wanted to remind you about your massage in 15 minutes.” I jumped out of bed, brushed my teeth, and went down two floors, scurried through walkways, arriving at the front desk, with the petite lady greeting me, “Good morning señorita, I was thinking about you, how was your night? Did you rest well?”
Thinking about me? Now that’s odd, I thought. “It was good,” I replied with a faint smile. “Okay, let's go to the executive lounge, where you will enter the last four digits of your card, for the draw. Also, there will be a 90-minute presentation, with breakfast, after which you can book the appointment for the spa.”
“I thought I was going to have the massage now,” I replied, “Oh no, señorita,” she said patting me on the back, “the massage comes after the presentation.” What have I gotten myself into? I thought again, then something said to me, “you know you can always say no, it’s not by force.” I replied with a counter thought, “shey its just 90 minutes with breakfast, I will eat and zone out, then go get my full body massage.”
I sat in a corner after entering my information for the draw, where the petite lady handed me over to her colleague, a macho man dressed in all white. “Señorita, if you're ready, I'll walk you to breakfast, and then we'll make the presentation.” I said my goodbyes to the lady and followed Mr. Macho.
“What are you here for?” He inquired in a friendly tone. “I am here for a friend's 40th birthday celebration. “Cool, cool. And where are your friends?” “They are in the other hotel,” I answered in my naivety. “So, you are here alone?” He pressed further, as he led the way, to which I replied, “yes!” Just then, we exited the elevator, and he led me to a suite that included a living room and a bedroom off to the left. Both areas were separated by a wooden sliding door. I was expecting a conference room, but instead found myself standing in a hotel room suite, the door locked behind me.
Then he entered the bedroom, one hand pulling the wooden sliding door shut and the other motioning, “come in here to have breakfast.” My heart stopped for a beat; this had to be what my cousin had warned me about! Jesus, how did I get myself into this mess? This is how women are raped, murdered, or trafficked! All this for a massage and a sliver of bread?
“No! I want to go meet my friends!” I said as firmly as I could. Even though my voice quaked and my heart shuddered within me. “Is there anything wrong? Please come in for breakfast.” “No! I am no longer interested in breakfast, or whatever else you want to do, I just want to go and meet my friends,” I said again, desperately searching for a data signal on my phone.
I watched his white face overcome with red, “okay, okay, señorita, just do this one thing for me, when we go back downstairs, tell them that something came up and you have to leave, if not they will be mad at me.” “Sure, sure,” I muttered, as I walked with my back heading for the door, with him walking alongside me to unlock it. As soon as I stepped outside, my phone connected back with the hotel wifi, and I called my friend. “Yvonne, abeg just stay for phone with me.” “What happened?” She was concerned. “I go gist you when I come,” I replied.
I hesitantly entered the elevator with him, thinking, worst case scenario, there are cameras in here. We made our way down to the first floor and into the executive lounge. “Señorita, what happened?” Another staff member inquired, “an emergency came up, I have to leave.” “So, you don't want the massage again?” Tell them no, you don't want any massage, Yvonne was saying to my ears, “no, I am no longer interested.” I watched the once friendly staff member's face turn green with disgust, wow, wetin these people be wan use me do? Then he said, “okay, bye bye,” motioning with his hands for me to leave.
After that, I avoided that entry and exit point and double-locked my room door, praying that nothing bad happened to me. My friend urged me to report the incident, but how could I when they had all of my information and could track me down at the drop of a hat? As I recounted the events to my brother in my Lagos living room, he said, “It was the grace of God that got you out of that situation.”
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