Updated: Jun 13, 2019
For more than 30 years we’ve heard Motel 6 spokesman Tom Bodett tell us to stay at Motel 6. He promises clean and comfortable rooms. He promises to keep the light on for us. He’s a trusted, reliable voice.
And so millions of folks across the U.S., Canada, South America — and now India — have taken him up on that offer of staying in a “clean, comfortable” room. I took him at his word. He lied. He’s made millions lying to the American public. He’s omitted the rapes, robberies, murders, sexual assaults, prostitution rings, gang activity, domestic violence altercations, shootings, burglaries, broken doors, bedbug infestations, roaches, blood spatter on walls, urine and feces on sheets, used condoms and hypodermic needles left in rooms, and the condemnation of three Motel 6 locations for health violations. He’s made millions making Motel 6 a household name, luring unsuspecting folks to the crime-ridden chain.
Tom Bodett has profited from his sins. Even NPR, the one media outlet generally unscathed by criticism of “fake news,” promotes him on Peter Sagal’s popular “Wait Wait” radio show. NPR makes money, Tom Bodett makes more money, Motel 6 makes lots of money. And people continue to be raped and killed while the corporation rakes in the money. Dogs die. A toddler died. An 18-month-old baby was raped. The husband of a CNN anchor was shot and almost died. But they’re making money.
The sin of omission is still a sin. And Tom Bodett is one helluva sinner.
Here’s our story.
I booked a room online to stay at the Motel 6 at 2424 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA. I let them know my service dog, Valkyrie, would be staying with me. They confirmed my stay with Valkyrie via email. It was done.
I arrived with Valkyrie and got my key card. I closed the door and, after taking a nap for a while, I left Valkyrie in the room — as I had done at other, better hotels with her and other dogs over the years— for a few hours. Valkyrie was a sweet, well-behaved and well-trained German Shepherd. She was crate trained, but I donated her crate to a doggy daycare before she turned one year old. She didn’t need it. She was a good dog and never got into anything or ever caused any problems no matter where we were or where we stayed.
When I returned a few hours later, Valkyrie was gone. I raced down to the front desk and demanded to know what had happened. A security guard said he saw my room door flung wide open, so he closed it and did nothing. He was nonchalant. He said there was no way he could have know that Valkyrie was in that room where the door was found wide open. But Motel 6 had confirmed my room with my dog. I’d checked in with her. I demanded to know why I wasn’t called, or why the police weren’t called when a guest’s room was open and the occupant disappeared.
The guard told me Valkyrie had been seen in the parking lot, but no one called me, or the police. The front graveyard shift desk clerk, 21-year-old Emily Dorn, was abusive. She insisted she had called me. But she hadn’t.
One of the security guards urged me to rush down the street to an area two blocks away where a park existed between two other hotels. He told me he’d seen Val running in that direction. He told me to rush, but to be careful, because there were lots of homeless people who hid out in the bushes.
And so I rushed toward that park, calling and searching. She didn’t respond. I drove my car through a dark foot tunnel at just a few miles per hour thinking she had found safety there. Nothing. I drove for hours searching, stopping trolly cops and giving them my number, asking 7–11 to post her photo, posting “Missing Dog” posts on Craigslist and Facebook, calling animal control repeatedly. Nothing. She was nowhere.
I returned to the Motel 6 to take a break and was puzzled when my room key didn’t work. No problem. Key cards demagnetize all the time. When I went to the front desk, I was told I was evicted. The same guard who originally rushed me away to go search for her near the park now called me a “bad pet parent” and ordered me to follow him to the room to collect my belongings.
And so I spent the rest of the wee hours searching for my Val. Early that morning I came across a man who worked at one of the neighboring hotels who was walking his dog. He told he’s seen a security guard chasing Valkyrie the evening before at exactly the same place the Motel 6 guard had told me she’d gone. This was about two blocks from the Motel 6. I was worried. The highway was right there…
Then, animal control called to let me know she had been killed on that highway. She’d been chased. Dogs never — ever — seek out highways unless they are trying to escape a perceived threat. It became crystal clear that the Motel 6 staff knew that Valkyrie had died on the adjacent highway when they sent me on a wild goose chase to find her.
And so I drove on the highway with my hazards on at a few miles per hour searching for her dead body. When I saw her wrecked body strewn on the berm, I felt as if my chest was being crushed by an avalanche. I couldn’t breathe; the wind had been forcefully punched from my body. I pulled over and hit my head on the steering wheel, crying hysterically.
I walked over to my girl and fell to my knees, sobbing. Her beautiful, thoughtful amber eyes were slightly opened, and tiny bugs were crawling over them. Her mouth, slightly opened, was bloody. Her paw was crushed. Her intestines were splattered on the asphalt. She was in full rigor mortis. My precious girl had been slaughtered on the highway. She must have been terrified, chased onto the highway, dodging cars, searching…terrified. I obtained the 911 calls from the CHP later. The CHP dispatcher had listened to them and warned me that they would be upsetting. They were. They were chilling. My girl had been dodging cars on the highway for 13 minutes before multiple impacts. My sweet girl — terrified, running, searching, and then crushed.
I covered my Valkyrie with a beach towel and gently picked her up and placed her in my trunk. Her crushed paw dangled as I walked, and the bloody intestines bounced across my leg as I walked her to the car, covering me in blood. I was sobbing uncontrollably. My baby…my baby. The avalanche of pain was still pressing on my chest, and it was hard to catch breathe. When I went back to the hotel to talk to the manager, Brandon Gaudette, he told me he was calling the police on me. And so I left and took my precious girl to a crematory. A risk management person in Texas — Claudette Bryant (Now Claudette Bledsoe Carroll)— called me a few days later and was abusive.
So I contacted a reporter I knew at San Diego Channel 10. They interviewed me and ran the story at the top of the 6 p.m. news hour. Here is the San Diego Channel 10 story on the night of horrors at Motel 6.
It didn’t take long to find that Valkyrie was not the first — nor would she be the last--dog to go missing or be killed as a result of the recklessness of Motel 6.
Just one month before another guest at the same Motel 6 returned from dinner to find his door wide open and his dog missing. No one called him. No one noticed. He wrote in his complaint on Expedia that he had demanded to know what had happened. The security guard promised to review the video and get back to him. No matter how hard he tried, Motel 6 wouldn’t respond.
In Sylmar, near Los Angeles, Kelli came back from the doctor and her dog, Kash, was missing. They claimed her dog had chewed the screen off the window and had escaped. But her eight-year-old dog had no upper or lower teeth. They lied. Claudette Bryant, the risk management director in Texas who had been abusive to me, was the same Claudette Bledsoe Carroll), who lied to Kelli about her toothless dog chewing out a screen trying to lay blame on the victim. Once Carrol learned of the vet records showing the dog couldn’t have chewed out a screen, she went radio silent and declined any further communications. She couldn’t perpetuate that vicious lie any more. So she just cut off communications. Here’s Kelli’s story on the news:
A Pomeranian was stolen out of a Motel 6 in Las Vegas.
A service dog was killed when the owner, Tiffany, escaped Hurricane Florence to the perceived safety of Motel 6 in Dublin, Georgia. Her dog, Moochie, was killed. Motel 6 refuses to communicate with her. Tiffany, under great duress yet able to think smartly, took a video of the defective door opening upon touch. She sent it to me. It became apparent what was happening to dogs and toddlers who were able to get out of rooms. The doors are defective.
Most recently, a cocker spaniel named Dudley was stolen after a burglary at an Albuquerque Motel 6. Motel 6 did nothing to assist, Teresa, the owner. The motel didn’t even have security cameras. I, and many social media influencers who cared, voraciously posted the dog’s photo on Twitter and Facebook. Within a few days he was found by a security guard at a homeless shelter who had seen the social media posts. Motel 6 had done nothing to help. In fact, when I reached out to Motel 6 shortly after I learned Dudley was missing, asking what they were going to do, they ignored me. You see, if they had used their social media to alert the public that there had been a burglary and a dog had been taken, it would be horrible for business. Because, you know, they’re “pet friendly.” Better in their eyes to ignore it, and let the dog remain missing or be killed than use their power to send out a dog APB across the internet. Nope.
Another dog was let out of a Motel 6 in Chula Vista and was killed.
Yet another, in Los Angeles, went missing and was hit by a semi. Her daughter, who saw the incident, suffered a seizure.
After reading my Petition to Boycott Motel 6 (See, https://www.thepetitionsite.com/702/587/961/boycott-motel-6-dogs-killed-and-missing/, a woman in Mojave, Arizona recounted an incident where she helped a dog owner search for a dog that went missing. A greyhound went missing out of North San Diego County. And there are many, many more. One can only imagine how many are really out there if I can find these just through searching social media and connecting with victims.
Motel 6 has been designated the worst hotel chain in the U.S. for 2018. It was designated the worst, as well, in 2017. See, https://www.rd.com/culture/worst-hotel-chains/
MOTEL 6 IS A CESSPOOL OF CRIME — BUT THE OWNER IS A BILLIONAIRE. HUH?
Motel 6, a $3.2 billion corporation, is owned by Blackstone Group CEO Steve Schwarzman. He is the most highly paid CEO in the U.S. with his salary estimated to reach $1 billion this year. It’s reported that he spent as much as $20 million on his 70th birthday party (See, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/reports-trump-economic-advisor-throws-163025607.html), and owns a condo on Park Avenue in New York City valued at about $37 million.
Schwarzman is no virgin to controversy. In 2013 Blackstone Group LP agreed to pay $85 million to settle an investor class action lawsuit accusing the private equity giant of not disclosing bad investments before its $4.7 billion initial public offering in 2007. Individual fraud claims against CEO Schwarzman were dropped in light of the settlement.
In April, 2018, Blackstone reported first quarter inflows of $18.2 billion. Total assets under management in the first quarter jumped 22 percent from a year earlier to a record $449.6 billion through a combination of fundraising and financial gains. Schwarzman dumped between $5.6 and $9 million (depending on which report one believes) to defeat California’s Proposition 10 (rent control). That’s not unusual given that Blackstone is the largest private alternative equity company in the United States. He celebrated his win over elderly folks who need rent control by visiting the White House on election night. He chaired Trump’s Economic Advisory Council before everyone peeled off after Trump’s Charlottesville remarks.
Schwarzman’s not a virgin to controversy, fraud or screwing the little guy.
So why are the 1400 motels in his stable cesspools of crime? Why are they so ridden with bedbugs and roaches? Money, of course. My research since Valkyrie was slaughtered on the highway reveals that Motel 6 caters to homeless folks who rent by the week or month at many locations. Motel 6 is featured prominently on a website designed to assist sexual predators find housing. And these folks don’t complain.
At the Motel 6 where I stayed, records obtained from the San Diego Police Department showed an average of 16 “Calls for Service” for help to that motel per month, while a comparably-priced hotel across the street only had a average of three calls. That means police are called to go this Motel 16 times per month.
Indeed, since I originally wrote this for Medium, the San Diego Police Department reported a rape and domestic with corporal injury, respectively, just in the past two months.
So how does this equate to money? Documents on the internet suggest that Motel 6 will reap between $2.1 billion and $2.8 billion in revenue this year. It was estimated that Americans will have spent more than $70 billion on their pets by the end of 2018. According to Statistica.com, the number of households with people who will have stayed at Motel 6 hotels in 2018 is 4.6 million. There are thousands of complaints on consumer websites demanding refunds from crime victims, victims of bedbugs, roaches and other filthy conditions.
Motel 6 just ignores them all.
That’s how they make money. They maintain premises in horrible conditions, go cheap on security and cameras, and when something bad happens — and it usually does — they just ignore it and keep the money. The guests just get rolled. The homeless residents don’t complain. The sex registrants definitely don’t complain. Motel 6 just sends canned responses to other guests who complain, and then promptly ignores them. It’s the modus operandi. That’s why one reason Motel 6 is repeatedly named the worst popular hotel chain in the U.S. G6 Hospitality, the operating company for Motel 6 located in Carrollton, Texas, gets an F rating from the Better Business Bureau. And so do the majority of their properties.
This is typical. Three Motel 6 locations have been condemned. “Live PD” on the A&E Network regularly features problems at the crime-ridden Warwick, Rhode Island, Motel 6. Motel 6 is so often featured on “Live PD” that its a joke on Twitter. People always ask if it’s going to be another Motel 6 night. The massive crime there has garnered many articles about the problems Motel 6 has brought to the community. See, http://www.providencejournal.com/article/20150325/NEWS/150329574
The Sylmar Motel 6 where Kash went missing was sued by the City of L.A. for having gangs and prostitution rings. See, https://abc7.com/sylmar-motel-6-settles-with-city-over-human-trafficking/2366015/
Motel 6 settled that suit for $250,000 and promised to engage in some remedial measures to accommodate the demand of the Los Angeles City Attorney. See, https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2017/08/31/motel-6-sylmar/
A convicted sex predator videotaped himself raping an 18-month-old baby at a Motel 6. See, https://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2015/02/convicted_sex_offender_accused_1.html
On March 27, 2018, a 23-year-old man was arrested for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl. The girl was found wearing a dog collar. See, https://patch.com/florida/lakeland/10-year-old-kidnapping-victim-found-motel-6-wearing-dog-collar
I could go on ad nauseum providing examples, but you can simply Google “Motel 6 crime”, “Motel 6 rape”, “Motel 6 murder”, or Motel 6 and any crime you’re interested in looking up to see the multiple pages of crimes reports occurring at Motel 6 locations across the country. Take a look at the screen shot below:
Motel 6 partners with most, if not all, of the major travel sites that highlight them for their low costs. I messaged Hotel Tonight on October 24, 2018, to ask them if they partner with Motel 6. When they said they did, I asked them to sever that partnership because Motel 6 was dangerous and filthy, and I provided supporting evidence. The complete back and forth conversation is below. The response was that they monitor guests’ feedback and reviews to determine if they should continue a partnership. That’s it. Hotel Tonight wasn’t interested in anything other than the referral fees they get from Motel 6 when guests book through its site. And I wondered to myself, “Can you post a complaint to Hotel Tonights if you’re murdered?”
Re: Motel 6
“HotelTonight Support” (Oct 24, 2018 at 05:34PM PDT)
Thank you for contacting us. Our Market Managers review each hotel on an individual basis before working with them, and we also closely monitor our guest’s feedback and review of the properties to determine if a partnership should be continued.
If you need assistance with anything, please just let us know — we are here 24/7 and always happy to help.
Pascal Customer Experience
(Oct 24, 2018 at 10:06AM PDT)
I was asking because Motel6 has repeatedly been named the worst popular hotel chain in the country based on massive complaints of crime, bedbugs, roaches, blood spatter…
See ACSI reports: https://www.rd.com/culture/worst-hotel-chains/
Additionally, they advertise they are pet friendly, but numerous dogs have been killed and gone missing. https://www.thepetitionsite.com/702/587/961/boycott-motel-6-dogs-killed-and-missing/
And so my query is: what standards do you use to determine if you will, or will not, advertise a particular hotel chain? 3 Motel 6 locations have been condemned, the LA city sued the Sylmar location for prostitution rings, drug manufacturers have been arrested at multiple locations…
Mary Frances — sent from my IPhone
“HotelTonight Support” (Oct 24, 2018 at 05:30PM PDT)
Thanks for reaching out.
We do partner with several Motel 6 in different cities but if you do not see one in the area you are searching in we probably to do not have a partnership with a Motel 6 there just yet.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
mary (Oct 24, 2018 at 05:27PM PDT) Do you ever feature Motel 6?
Amost four months after Hotel Tonight was alerted to the dangers of Motel 6, it still partners with Motel 6. It’s all about the money.
Then I started taking a look at the travel sites dedicated to people traveling with animals. One would think these sites, at least, would conduct some sort of independent evaluation of the safety of the properties they were promoting, right? No. They don’t. Every single one of those I contacted responded to me that if a hotel says it’s “pet friendly”, they will promote it as “pet friendly” and leave it at that. But saying a hotel is “pet friendly” doesn’t mean the hotel is pet safe. Consumers don’t know that. But they assume that.
One of the largest and most well-known internet sites for “pet friendly” travel is “Bring Fido”. I don’t know the financials on the company, but it has dozens of employees, including a CEO, Community Manager, a Director of Information Technology, a Chief Operating Officer, and many more. See below.
I reached out via DM on its site and asked if Bring Fido is paid for advertising Motel 6 properties. Yes, they said. Bring Fido is given kickbacks for every room booked through its site. Remember, Motel 6 has 1,400 location across the U.S. That’s a lot of rooms. That’s a lot of kickbacks.
On November 24, 2018 I again DM’d through the Bring Fido page and asked if they conduct any type of independent evaluation of the Motel 6 locations they promote. The response was the same as Hotel Tonight: They just go by customer reviews. I warned them about the dangers of Motel 6. See below.
Then, I alerted Bring Fido that I was giving them one week to remove Motel 6 from their website. Whomever was behind the computer that day when I told them I was giving them a week clearly got rattled. He/She bumped me off the DM.
It's been nearly four months now, and Bring Fido continues to advertise Motel 6 as a “pet friendly” place to bring dogs and cats. This screen shot below was taken on December 7, 2018.
Just prior to these sets of DM’s I tried to warn Bring Fido via Twitter about the dangers of Motel 6. Bring Fido blocked me. They don’t want to hear it. It’s all about the money.
I emailed another “dog friendly” Motel 6 promoter, DogFriendly.com, warning them of the dangers Motel 6 posed to humans and pets. I received no response. Not only does it continue to promote Motel 6 hotels, it also continues to take paid advertising. It’s all about the money.
People don’t search “Motel 6 crime” when seeking a hotel to stay at for a few days. They rely on BringFido.com, and DogFriendly.com, and Hotel Tonight, and Motel 6 partner Expedia. And Motel 6 gets negative They’ve relied on Tom Bodett for 30 years, and they continue to do so. I did. So did former CNN anchor Lynn Russell and her ex-special forces husband, Chuck DeCaro. DeCaro was shot in a botched robbery at an Albuquerque, New Mexico Motel 6. All Lynn and Chuck wanted to do is stay the night with their dog while traveling, and so they chose Motel 6. Why? Because they, like me and countless others, have been conditioned by tens of millions poured into advertising that Motel 6 is clean, comfortable and they will “keep the light on for you.” Even a former special forces officer relied on Tom Bodett and his cheesy jingles. It’s even in their lawsuit. See, below.
Essentially, Motel 6 is the 2018 equivalent of the exploding Pinto of the 1970’s. Steve Schwarzman would prefer to spend $20 million on his birthday party than $10 million retrofitting the doors to his motels so children and dogs can’t get out by merely touching the door handles that pop open when barely touched. He rather continue hiring incompetent 21-year-old former grocery store baggers to be in charge of the safety of guests, children and animals during the graveyard shift at his high-crime motels than hire adequate, well-trained staff and reliable security. So long as the public is kept in the dark — and he has handy Tom Bodett to help ensure that — Steve Schwarzman doesn’t care if you, your kids or your animals get killed.
So let’s tell Tom Bodett and Blackstone CEO and billionaire Steve Schwarzman, and G6 Hospitality's new CEO Rob Palleschi, we see them; we know what they are doing; that they need to clean up their act. Tell NPR to stop luring listeners into a false sense of security by promoting Tom Bodett. Tell BringFido.com and DogFriendly.com, and all of he other Motel 6 partners, booking sites and “dog friendly” sites that not only is Motel 6 not dog friendly, it is “dog deadly” and dangerous to humans as well.
Please share this and make sure you don’t stay at Motel 6 with your children or precious pets. Tweet this. Facebook this. Tell your doggy daycares, your child daycares, your neighbors. If you know someone who is going to book a Motel 6, tell them not to.
I’ve made it my mission in life since Valkyrie’s death to ensure that no other children or pets are injured or killed because of the greed of Motel 6, Tom Bodett and Steve Schwarzman. Give me a hand. Motel 6 has hired high-priced lawyers to shut me down.
Please sign the Petition to Boycott Motel 6. https://www.thepetitionsite.com/702/587/961/boycott-motel-6-dogs-killed-and-missing/
Please join my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JusticeForValkyrie/
And for updates on crime at Motel 6, please join this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Motel6CrimeReports/
And if you have a complaint against Motel 6, contact Claudette Bledsoe Carroll at G6 headquarters in Texas: (972) 360–2749. She won't respond, but you will annoy her.
Write to Motel 6 owner Steve Schwarzman at his $37 million condo at: Steve Schwarzman, Penthouse, 240 Park Avenue, New York, New York. He won’t respond, but you will annoy him.
Or call Brianna, executive assistant to Motel 6 CEO Rob Palleschi at (972) 360–2696. Rob won’t respond, but you’ll annoy his assistant.
Eventually, they will all know you're on to them.
And you can file an actual online complaint at any or all of the sites below to help warn other unsuspecting people of the danger of Motel 6. DO it. There are reports from these sites below describing how some of the hotel travel sites purge themselves of bad hotel reviews in order to keep their paying partners satisfied by giving them higher rankings. Trip Advisor urged my review about Motel 6.
Consumer Affairs rates Motel 6 a 1.5 out of 5 stars based on 697 consumer complaints. https://www.consumeraffairs.com/travel/motel_6.htmlComplaintsboard.com rates Motel 6 1 out of 5 stars based on some 710 consumer complaints. https://www.complaintsboard.com/motel-6-b120194PissedConsumer.com rates Motel 6 1.9 out of 5 stars based on 1322 complaints. https://motel-6.pissedconsumer.com/review.htmlHissingKitty.com rates Motel 6 1.46 out of 5 stars based on 94 complaints. http://www.hissingkitty.com/complaints-department/motel-6
You can also file an online complaint for false advertising or fraud to the Federal Trade Commission and file a consumer complaint with your state's Office of the Attorney General.