Cigarettes in the Stairwell

I like tall hotels. Given the choice, I’ll stay in a tall hotel over any other.

It’s not for the views, it’s for the staircases. Nothing gets your heart going and fires up your lungs like running 21 stories at 5 am.

Last night I stayed in a tall hotel. The lobby of the hotel was immaculate. Courteous staff, vaulted ceilings, and magnificent chandeliers greet the guests. Everything from the brightly-lit exits to the multiple USB chargers beside the bed is thought out and well-placed.

But the staircases are always filled with surprises. I’ve seen flip flops, scarves, people sleeping off hard nights, and just this morning I counted 52 cigarette butts.


Hotels are like EHS programs. Well-thought out, energetically implemented, and often accompanied by a courteous staff.

But when job hazard analyses stay unused in the digital folder or three-ring binder, when “just this one time” and “I’ll only be up there for 5 minutes” become the norm, and safety staffs hide behind Outlook, PowerPoint, and positional authority, we collectively and conveniently forget to check the stairwells.

How are your stairwells?


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