Interesting Situation

Here’s an interesting situation:

A widower who lost his wife to cancer was accused of being a paedophile by Travelodge staff because he booked a double room for him and his daughter.
Craig Darwell, 46, was taking Millie, 13, to visit Thorpe Park and was forced to book the double room in Chertsey, Surrey, because there were no others available.
But when he checked in, suspicious staff demanded that he show them his daughter’s ID.
Mr Darwell, who lost his wife to leukaemia when Millie was just four, explained that he did not have ID for his daughter and instead showed staff pictures of them together when she was a baby.
But even after seeing them, staff called the police and he and his daughter were forced into separate rooms and interviewed by a police officer.

Needless to say, the daughter was traumatized by the whole thing,

Here’s why I think this is an interesting situation. I know, hotels should MYOB and all that: the days of refusing to let rooms to unmarried couples and such are long past, and we have Moved On.

However: pedophilia is a crime after all, and the hotel  staff has every right to be suspicious — they could be held culpable if they allowed a criminal act to be perpetrated on their premises when there was evidence that such a crime might be committed.

Where this hotel screwed up was involving the Filth (sorry, but it’s a Brit story) right from the get-go, instead of taking the father to one side, quietly explaining their concerns, and letting him have his say. The problem, of course, is that 13-year-olds don’t have ID, and proving paternity for a man (like this unfortunate guy) could be problematic. Nevertheless, having baby pics (as this guy did) is prima facie evidence, I think, that he’s just a proud dad and not Chester The Molester, and the hotel should have apologized and let the matter drop. I bet the guy would even have thanked them for their concern — I probably would have.

The reason that this story resonates with me is that it could quite easily have happened to me. Back when the Son&Heir was a youngin, we lived apart — I in New Jersey, and he with his mother in Chicago and later, Texas — and I used to fly down to spend weekends with him every month. And of course, we’d check into a local hotel as our base of operations. So had the above chain of events happened to me, it would have been unpleasant, to say the least, and proving my paternity equally problematic.

As I said, I can see the hotelier’s concern, but I am excoriating them for their insensitivity and clumsiness, and I am especially angry at the fucking police for treating this guy like a criminal when it was so obvious that he wasn’t. It’s a transparent case of bullying someone because you can, and not because it’s justified. The whole matter could have, and should have been handled discreetly and sensitively by both the hotel and the cops, but clearly, both sets of bureaucratic fools possessed neither characteristic.

Do you realize what would have happened to this man (and his daughter) had some bastard cop decided to arrest him? Court cases, legal fees, sex offenders list etc,. etc., etc. And don’t tell me that this couldn’t happen, because if we’ve come to learn anything in today’s 1984 society, it could.

I am generally loath to involve The Lawyers, and because this happened in Britishland, not much can be done because Britain. But these amateur Sherlocks need to get their pee-pees whacked, and this should be actionable, if for no other reason than that the man’s daughter was traumatized by their blundering actions — yeah, why not show concern for a young girl’s well-being post facto?

Grrr grrrrr grrrrrrr….


  1. Not sure where to start on this. Have 3 kids and they all have more in common with their mother in the looks arena than I.

    At the very least the hotel should have been more subtle in the questions. Would bet a busy body on staff was going above and beyond to protect the youth.

    Would be interesting to read a more true account and compare it to the lurid account the newspaper published.

  2. A guy I used to work with brought his 4 year old son to the doctor for an ear infection. While there the doctor noted that the child had bruises on his knees, and started asking leading questions regarding child abuse. Hey, he’s four years old, he runs, he trips, he lands on his knees. He said the whole thing made him feel dirty.

    I guess he’s lucky the doctor didn’t call the cops to sort it out.

    Question: doesn’t Britain issue some form of ID at or shortly after birth, like we do with Social Security cards? Or birth certificates? Granted it’s not perfect as ID (no picture, and even if there was one it wouldn’t mean much 13 years later), but it would show that he had a child the age of the child in question, and asking the child her name should establish the relationship.

    1. “I guess he’s lucky the doctor didn’t call the cops to sort it out.”

      He IS lucky; it’s better than even odds that there’s a state law on the books requiring the doctor to report suspected child abuse.

      The real kicker is that if your doctor doesn’t like you (you gave him a bad review on Yelp, for example), he can report something and even if it’s proven false there’s likely to be nothing you can do about it because those same laws explicitly immunize someone required to report from lawsuit as long as no one can prove “bad faith”.

  3. The Feminazis have decreed from on high that all men are rapists, actual or potential.

    Any man who does not acknowledge this and take precautions against accusations like this unfortunate Dad in the UK is just asking for trouble.

    Don’t believe me?

    Watch the reaction of 99% of men to seeing a female child in distress in a public place. Twenty years ago they would have risked their own lives to assist the child. Today they will run away as quickly as possible and hope nobody has seen them, or God forbid, has filmed them on their iPhone anywhere within 100 metres.

    Feminism has a lot to answer for.

  4. It was probably because of the Rotherham grooming scandal that the hotel was concerned to begin with, It’s possible that all UK hotels have guidelines from police departments to report “suspicious” activity. As you say, though, it should have been handled with more sensitivity.

    1. It’s only “suspicious” if you’re white.

      Had he been “oriental”, they wouldn’t have batted an eyelash even if he brought in an underage goat, because “racism”.

  5. One of the 1st things you’re told on a 1st aid course is never to be alone with a child.

    Injuries come 2nd.

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