A college student and hotel employee is being praised for keeping everything running at the Homewood Suites in Beaumont, Texas during flooding caused by Tropical Storm Imelda—for 32 hours and by himself.
21-year-old Satchel Smith went to work like it was any other day. His dad dropped him off for his shift at 3 p.m. and Smith expected to finish up by 11 p.m. But then the tropical storm hit and trapped him at the Homewood Suites along with the hotel guests.
Despite being alone, Smith made sure he performed his duties at the hotel as well as kept everyone calm, fed, and cared for. Angela Chandler, one of the guests, was so impressed with Smith’s grace under pressure that she sung his praises in a now-viral post on Facebook.
Meet Satchel. He is the only employee here at Homewood Suites in Beaumont. The access road is underwater and I10 is shut…
“Meet Satchel. He is the only employee here at Homewood Suites in Beaumont. The access road is underwater and I10 is shut down due to flooding. We can’t get in or go out. The hotel a mile from us is underwater,” Chandler wrote.
“Satchel has been here all night. His coworkers couldn’t make it to work so he stayed. He has manned the phones, answered each of our questions, ensured that we have had a hot cup of coffee or tea, and helped serve us a hot breakfast,” Chandler wrote. “He has handled this situation with grace, kindness, and a beautiful smile on his face.”
In an interview with CNN, Smith confessed he didn’t feel as composed as he appeared.
“It was pretty intense,” he said. For nearly two days, he had to prepare food, run maintenance, fulfill room service duties, and anything else that was necessary.
“I’d never worked in a kitchen. I’m not really a good cook,” he said. But that didn’t stop Smith, who managed to put together a meal for the hotel (with some help).
By the time the ordeal was over and it was safe to leave the hotel, Smith and the hotel guests felt pretty bonded.
“The guests were very helpful,” he said. “It was basically like a big family.”