Super 8: Make things right after kicking an innocent homeless couple into nine-degree weather!

  • by: Nathan Empsall
  • recipient: Geoff Ballotti, CEO of the Wyndham Hotel Group (which owns Super 8, Ramada, Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Travelodge, Wingate, and more)

On February 14, @Super8Hotels tweeted, "Love is in the air… Happy Valentine's Day!" But their love certainly didn't extend to homeless families in Ohio.

According to Super 8, enforcing a changeable policy is more important than saving human life.

On Valentine's Day, the temperature in Columbus, OH, was nine degrees with wind chill below zero. George and Joyce Gruss were traveling across the state and stopped for dinner at Wendy's, and saw a couple crying. They asked Stephanie and Louis what was wrong, and Stephanie said they were homeless with nowhere to go. Rather than letting them suffer hypothermia, George and Joyce generously bought them three nights at a Super 8 Motel. But an hour later, the Super 8 called George back just to let him know they were evicting the homeless couple even if it meant letting them freeze - all because they didn't have ID, and by the way, he couldn't have their money back, either.

Super 8 is owned by the Wyndham Hotel Group, which also owns Days Inn, Ramada, Travelodge, Howard Johnson, and more. Tell Wyndham CEO Geoff Ballotti: If you want our travel dollars, then change the way you treat homeless people! Make things right with this couple and set new policies to make sure this never happens again!

Wyndham has since refunded George's money, but still needs to update the way it treats the homeless. After signing, please share this petition widely so that Super 8 hears from as many customers as possible - thank you!

Dear Mr. Ballotti,

As you know, a story has gone viral on social media about a Super 8 location in Columbus, Ohio. The weather was nine degrees, so an Ohio family very generously and compassionately bought three nights at one of your motels for a homeless couple. This is an example all of us should follow when we can afford it - but apparently your chain doesn't think so, because you kicked the couple out for lack of an ID and refused to give a refund to the first family.

Does Super 8 think enforcing changeable motel policies at all costs is more important than protecting human life? That's what it seems like right now.

Businesses are more than profit centers - they are also an important part of local community fabric. Refunding George Gruss's money was a first step, but if you want my travel dollars at any Wyndham Hotel Group locations, you will take two more important actions:

-- Apologize for this franchise's actions, locate the homeless couple, and make things right with them.

-- Most importantly, create new, compassionate policies regarding homeless customers at all Wyndham brands and require that all franchise owners follow these policies. The need for ID is understandable -- of course hotels need to recover any damage customers do to your room, but that is not more important than letting people avoid death from hypothermia. This is especially true when you already have ID and credit card information for the generous person providing the room, as happened in Ohio.

We the undersigned look forward to your response and to seeing new, more compassionate policies come to all Super 8 motels and other Wyndham locations.
Update #46 years ago
Thank you for signing the Care2 petition protesting Super 8's treatment of homeless guests!

Wyndham has responded with new guidance to its franchises. The guidance is not strong enough, but it is a step in the right direction. I am closing the petition and am willing to once again stay in a HoJo or Ramada when it's the most convenient option, but I'll respect anyone who makes a difference choice. You can learn more here: http://bit.ly/1K6tQcs

Thanks again!
Update #36 years ago
It's been four months since Super 8 evicted a homeless couple from a prepaid room into below-zero temperatures for not having ID. On June 11, I asked executives if they could update you on any new homeless policies, but they haven't replied.

If the Windham Hotel Group won't write new rules directing its brands to treat homeless guests better, sign this new petition to tell them you won't stay in their hotels this summer!
Update #26 years ago
Wyndham has refunded George, but that's not what matters. What saddened him most was his effort to help Stephanie & Louis didn’t work, & they're still out in the cold. If you're in OH or MI, will you keep an eye out? Louis has dark hair & is from AL. Stephanie has light-brown hair, avg height, & is from SC. They’re white. If you have any info, click my name on the petition & I'll pass it on! Thanks, & keep sharing to pressure Wyndham!
Update #16 years ago
Wyndham has replied to the petition, apologized, & refunded the Grusses! That's a start but they must do more. Their CEO told me they will issue new "guidance for these types of situations" & that guest safety comes first, but Stephanie and Louis were guests & throwing them into the cold was not safe.

Let's keep up the pressure until Wyndham makes this right by donating to a homeless charity & publicly showing their new rules allow the homeless to keep prepaid rooms. Share the petition today!
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