A mum has said that she was “gobsmacked” after a Jury’s Inn hotel in Plymouth left her 18-year-old daughter to search through the city streets during the early hours of the morning for a place to stay.
Having previously confirmed over the phone that the hotel would accommodate her daughter upon arrival, a member of staff told her they could not help when she arrived.
Laura received a phone call from her “distressed” daughter at 4am on Saturday, November 27 after her trip to Plymouth rapidly became a “desperate situation” of searching for a safe place to stay in an unfamiliar city.
“We live down in West Sussex so we are too far away to pop into a car and help her out,” Laura told PlymouthLive.
“I had phoned the Jurys Inn and explained I needed to get her a room and I would like to arrange and pay for that over the phone.
“The person on the front desk said they are having IT issues and that the system was down but if she could get to the hotel, they would sort it out when she got there.
“She got to the point where she had no choice but to walk to the hotel, in a city she didn’t know, in a very scared and vulnerable state.
“She got to the hotel and was then told ‘well I told your mother we have an IT issue’ and told her to go to the Crowne Plaza, which was a twenty-five minute walk away.”
Laura lives in Sussex, over a five-hour drive away, so did “everything” she could to help her daughter by calling taxi companies and contacting other hotels, without success.
“I then saw there was a train at 5:30am,” said Laura, “so I then directed her towards the train station and got her on a train where she would be semi-safe.”
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Laura wants to put a spotlight on what happened to her daughter last month so more can be done by people and businesses to recognise when a young woman needs a place of safety.
The distressed mum wants changes made in future to prevent this sort of situation from happening again.
“It’s not acceptable what’s happened,” she told PlymouthLive. “I’ll strongly fight for the fact that this is wrong and the next girl in that situation needs to be recognised. It’s common sense.”
“People need to be aware of the safety of young women, even more so at this time, not that it should ever have to be like that, but it obviously is.
“It’s not even that people need to be extra vigilant, it’s having common sense.”
A Jurys Inn’s spokesperson told PlymouthLive: “The welfare of guests and the general public is of the utmost importance to us. We are looking into what occurred on the morning in question.”
Laura described it as “distressing” to talk about the incident now. Her daughter had been crying on the phone to her, walking around alone, and the only way her mum could know where she was was using a ‘find my friend’ app through which she helped guide her daughter from miles away.
She said that, even before she phoned The Jurys Inn, she called numerous Plymouth taxi companies from her home in Sussex hoping they could collect her or help her get to accommodation, but none were able to help.
She said: “It was a desperate situation. She was at risk where she was.”
“I honestly feel like common sense if a young girl turns up at that time in the morning, why on earth would you not just let her sit in the lobby? Why not help her out or offer her some kind of support?
“I am so physically shocked. If something had happened, I felt so powerless because it would have taken me five hours to get to her.
“It physically makes me cry thinking about what happened because a common sense approach would be to get her in a position of safety.”