When dozens of people were trapped inside of a Texas hotel amidst torrential flooding earlier this week, a 21-year-old employee was hailed as their hero.
Satchel Smith typically only manages the front desk at the Homewood Suites in Beaumont. After his father dropped him off for work on Wednesday, he expected to work his regular 8-hour shift before heading home later that evening.
That was until Tropical Storm Imelda rolled through the area and flooded many of the local roads and highways.
Smith was now the only employee who was managing the hotel with 90 guests trapped inside—and he rose to the challenge with awe-inspiring grace and gusto.
Angela Chandler, who was one of the guests staying at the hotel under Smith’s care, took a photo of the college student and published it to Facebook so she could praise him for his work.
“Satchel has been here all night,” she wrote. “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. He has handled this situation with grace, kindness, and a beautiful smile on his face.”
For 36 hours straight, Smith was the hotel’s manager, front desk attendant, maintenance man, and kitchen crew. Thankfully, he was not entirely alone in his work; many of the guests banded together to help him serve the meals and wash the dishes—which he was particularly grateful for since the college student admits that he isn’t a very good cook.
Other guests even volunteered to help Smith brave the downpour and bring clean water and food to the truckers stranded nearby.
“The guests were very helpful,” he told CNN. “It was basically like a big family.”
After his co-worker arrived on Friday, Smith was able to take a quick nap before he went back to work and waited for his family to pick him up.
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