Parenting Blog

Doing the Right Thing Is Complicated at 2:30 AM in a Las Vegas Hotel


It was closing in on 2:30 AM and the farewell party that never did materialize was coming to its unremarkable conclusion.

I walked out of the palatial 2-story spa villa with her and chose to use the short distance between suite and elevator as a hurried opportunity to say goodbye and to express just how much I’d enjoyed hanging out with and getting to know her and the rest of the crew over the prior 48 hours. The weird thing about press trips is that you have these unique, shared, extremely in-the-moment experiences with a group but you never know if you’ll ever see some or all of the people in the group again, so as awkward as a parting conversation BEFORE standing side by side in an elevator can be, I wanted the seize the opportunity to impart gratitude for my inclusion in the event and to fondly recall the fun we had had together the night before when the festivities turned into a sort of middle of the night frat party meets cheery after school special through the lens of a Saturday morning cartoon. In short, it was brilliant fun — the kind of fun this guy who doesn’t drink, didn’t have too many friends growing up and never went away to college hadn’t before experienced.

When the reflective stainless steels doors of the elevator opened at 2:30 AM we two stepped inside and found four dudes who had come up from casino one level below. Okay, no worries. As I went to push the 4th floor button for her, I was horrified to discover that button already illuminated.

Okay, now I was worried.

Some or all of these beefy young guys were on her floor.


I’d never had to make a quick decision, to analyze a choice with this much right or wrong riding on it, at 2:30 AM in a Las Vegas hotel but, honestly, the time of day or location cannot be a crutch for someone who takes great pride in his ’round the clock clarity and good sense.

I’m never ‘off my game’.

I don’t make poor choices.

Except when I do, and I have nothing liquid, chemical or environmental to blame.

I decided to stay inside the elevator as three of the strangers stepped out with her on 4 and began walking down the hallway toward the bank of rooms. So many horrific images flashed before my eyes as the elevator doors closed and the climb to my 10th floor began. Nothing against those three guys or her ability to fend for herself but I feared Nancy Grace level shit could go down and felt like a rotten human being for not stepping out on 4, to at least silently offer her cover, you know, just in case.

But I was scared of trying to be the good guy too.

I had to make a quick decision, to stay in or step out. I didn’t get out of the elevator on 4 because I didn’t want it to seem to her that I was up to something nefarious. Doing the right thing is complicated at 2:30 AM in a Las Vegas hotel. I simply couldn’t know how she’d react, if she’d read the situation with those other guys and correctly assume my intentions were solid and that of a caretaker, a concerned new friend, a decent man who is trying to do the right thing. Of course I know that I pose no threat, that I’m not a scary dude in the least, but I was scared to death of giving off even the slightest of predatory vibes, so I stupidly stayed in the elevator and let her be alone in a hotel hallway at 2:30 AM with three guys who’s vibes, states of mind or intentions I couldn’t possibly know.


As anyone who’s ever stepped foot into an elevator would attest, elevators have shitty cell service. The climb then from the 4th floor to the 6th, to deposit the other dude, and finally up to the 10th seemed to take an eternity. As the numbers dinged, 5, 6, 7, 8, I scrambled to find her phone number in my email inbox, leaped out on 10, and texted her immediately to ask if she was okay, to apologize for not walking her to her room and also for being ‘a dad’ in checking on her. She was good, and she thanked me for the text and the concern.


As I crawled into bed, just a few hours before the sun would be attacking my corner room from two sides, I was still a bit shaken. She was alright, safe, and in her room but I knew I’d made the wrong choice a few minutes earlier. I knew this story could’ve easily had an alternate ending, and while I wouldn’t have been to blame, per se, that would have been of little consolation.

As I tried to get some shut eye, I was struck by the most foreign of thoughts. This was the first time in my 40 years of life that I’d ever wished for a kid sister, not because a kid sister necessarily needs protecting but because if that young lady staying in a room on the 4th floor of that Las Vegas hotel was my kid sister, it wouldn’t have been uncomfortable for me to do the right thing, to take the initiative of seeing her to her room at 2:30 AM, and I wouldn’t still feel like I willingly let a young woman enter into a potentially dangerous situation because I was afraid of how I would look in doing so.

In short, the world is often a frightening place for women. Some good men do know, understand and bemoan this fact, but doing the right thing at 2:30 AM in a Las Vegas hotel or anywhere else at any other time of day, can sometimes be more complicated than you’d think.

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