I Survived Spring Break Working Hotel Security

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Hotel Security Spring Break I can say with certainty that the most exciting job in the hotel industry during spring break is hotel security. I was a security officer for the Sands Casino and Hotel in Reno, and I loved it. I was also one of the few female officers working the swing shift, which is often when things really got to rocking. Although I was over 50 years of age, I looked much younger, was tall and a redhead, which gave me an image of control. And I was usually able to stop trouble before it started -- usually.


Reno is about a 30-minute drive to some of the best skiing in the world, in the Lake Tahoe area. Since it is also a fun gambling town and the biggest little city in the world, it's no surprise that college students would decide that this was the place to be. So somewhere, someone made the decision that our hotel should be the central spot for the students of several California schools heading to the mountains for some fun on the slopes.

The first day we were ready when the bus rolled in and semi-sleeping students fell out the doors. They looked like they had already been partying for hours before arriving, so I figured they would be worn out and provide no problem. I was wrong. It took about 20 minutes to get that group checked in before another busload showed up. Before it was over, there were over 200 spring breakers in the hotel, along with the regular guests.

One whole floor was reserved for the breakers and that was a smart move on the part of hotel management. The noise began right away and there was no way to know who was staying in which room. Two security officers roamed the floor all week long, to try and maintain order, but the best they could do was to make sure no one fell out a window. Students ran from room to room partying. There was no control of any kind. They finally settled in around 3 a.m., so I figured they would sleep the next day. Again, I was wrong.

When I showed up for my shift at 3 p.m., they were all returning from their first day on the slopes and were ready to party again. It was like watching a bunch of cranked-up toddlers with machine guns on the run. The halls were alive with music, yelling and screaming, wild laughter, naked women running from naked boys. This of course was all in addition to the food, drink and trash flying through the air. We deemed it the war zone and hoped to keep anyone from needing an ambulance.

The guests on the floor below were eventually moved to other rooms or given a rain check due to the noise. It was a bad mix and everyone was glad that most of the guests took other rooms far away from the breakers, and actually enjoyed their stay regardless of the commotion.

I took drinks from underage kids, stopped them from running around the gaming tables, made them return the beds they'd dragged into the halls, back into their rooms, asked them to put on clothes before coming to the casino area, pulled their passed-out bodies from bathroom stalls and stopped several fights. The water guns were banned from the casino floor with the threat that those holding them would be kicked out of their rooms, with nowhere to go. Finally came the day of the preplanned spring break dance. The dance began at 8 p.m. and by that time, it had already been a long day.

Security checked all persons entering the dance area. I retrieved bottles of booze from coat pockets, hats, purses, bags and even from the front of some of the males' pants. They tried to bribe me with love and lust later, but I figured they didn't have the experience I required.

The dance went late into the evening and was a great success. Only four fights broke out, most of them between drunks, and only about 30 percent of the revelers got too drunk to make it to their rooms. Some of those incapacitated were even over the age of 21, so their situation it was legal. By the end of the night, we were shocked at the amount of alcohol they were able to sneak past our searches!

The following day they made it to the slopes by 7 a.m. and skied all day. I could not believe they had enough energy to even open their eyes after the previous 24 hours! Once they returned it started all over again. This time the halls smelled of weed, alcohol and that awful smell of the sick drunk. It was hard to believe anyone would find a smelly, puke-covered kid attractive, but love was everywhere!

By the time the weekend was over, I knew I never wanted to go through that again! Regardless, I did wind up working spring break in Reno for a few more years. It was an incredible experience, but I am glad that I now live in a small town far back in the mountains. No spring breakers here. I love it, but will remember the excitement of casino life forever. You cannot beat it for the best job in the world for humor, excitement and even heartbreak.


Next: I Survived Spring Break: Tales from a Miami Beach Store Owner


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