DEAR MISS MANNERS: While traveling, my husband and I decided to stop for the night. I called a large, mid-priced chain hotel. While talking, the clerk asked to put me on hold. It was a long while, but I figured she had to wait on someone at the counter.
A few minutes later, we got to the hotel. The same woman was at the desk. In the middle of our discussion, she excused herself and went to the back. It was, again, a very long wait, and when she finally came out, I asked if something was wrong.
“I’m sick,” she said. I asked her if she meant her stomach. It was. I asked if it was contagious, and she said, “I hope not.” I was horrified and pulled back from the counter, saying that I did not want to get sick. She said she understood and would ask her manager to wait on me, then went to the back again. I waited and waited and nobody came out. I guess she was vomiting again.
I told my husband that I just wanted to leave. He was very annoyed with me, but we left. He said I was terribly rude and had embarrassed him with the way I physically reacted.
My main concern was not catching whatever she had. Besides standing right in front of her, she would have been handling my credit card, the room keys, the pen and paperwork that I would also handle.
Was I rude? I just did not want to get sick. How else should I have handled the situation?
GENTLE READER: With at least a semblance of polite concern for the person who is actually sick, before becoming consumed with the remote likelihood of your own illness.