On september 8, 2011, the largest power outage in history swept across the state of California, Arizona and parts of Mexico.
I was scheduled to do a motivational talk for an event in san diego the following day and figured this was just a minor inconvenience.
Little did anyone anticipate it would put the city of San Diego on emergency alert, shut down stores, schools and restaurants and even ground flights.
I was staying at the comfort inn near sea world( which has been recently renovated, is stylish, modern and easily rivals a 4 to 5 star property).
At 6 pm, the kitchen was shut down and they were not serving food. We were told all food, gas and convenience stores were shut down and finding a meal would be tough. I immediately hit the streets to visit the other hotels along hotel circle in hopes of finding something to eat.
I managed to find a sandwich at the crown plaza up the road. I stayed for a couple hours and kibitzing with other stranded travelers. By the time I reached my hotel, it was about 10 pm and the lobby was packed. I Beelined through the crowd and made my way to the stairs where luckily another guest shone a flash light up the stairwell so I could see.
I opened the door to the 4th floor and it was pitch black. I immediatly walked straight into a wall, so I went back to the stairwell where it was equally as dark.
It hit me that the reason the lobby was full was people were lining up to get flashlights. Hmmm, pays to pay attention. I couldn't see the room numbers so there was no hope of navigating my way to my room. With no other options, I sat down in the middle of the hallway and waited. Within 15 minutes two hotel staff were making their rounds and used flashlights to help me find my room.
My motivational talk was cancelled,along with the event.
A few ideas for hotels in the case of a power outage:
- We get it -Candles and fire can burn down buildings and set off fire alarms. As an alternative have lots of other lighting options like glow sticks and mini flashlights.
- Have a good, accessible power generator
- Don't close down the kitchen and leave guests with no other food options. Be ready with non perishable foods.
- Use cell phones etc to find local information on flights, store and highway closures
- Have staff walk the halls to check on guests
- Keep hallways lit with flashlights or escort guests to their room if it's dark.
The motivational talk I was going to present for the event was about laughing at adversity. I guess this joke is on me.
Check it out here for more motivational speaker resources.
See our original blog post for the event, motivational speaker for office of education