Frozen In Her Tracks
She looked underneath the stained mattress only to find something that glued her shoes to the floor. She felt her stomach twist into a knot as her pulse quickened.
She then saw a light flash from the other side of the room. She couldn’t believe what she had just found.
A Normal Woman
Clara Moore lived in Pennsylvania as a single mother looking after her four-year-old son – Josh. She needed to make sure he got the best that life could offer.
But she’d soon run into something that would change her life.
Clara always needed to provide for her son and cleaned motels to make ends meet. It was great because of the hours and that she was compensated well enough.
But she’d find something that would have her questioning her employment and her life afterward.
She was no newbie at hotel cleaning, she had five years of experience under her belt. She knew it was far from glamorous but it paid the bills.
She thought that nothing could surprise her in this job but she’d end up in disbelief one Saturday morning after entering one of the rooms.
Going To Work
Clara took her son to a friend’s house so she could get to work. She wore her favorite winter jacket and stood at the bus stop alone.
There was a thick fog in the morning that made the bus lights coming look ominous. Then she saw something at the bus stop that she hadn’t noticed before.
There was a missing person poster at the bus stop. After reading the poster she learned that the woman on the front had been missing for nearly six months.
The woman was last seen with a well-built man who should be avoided if seen – he was considered dangerous.
Getting On The Bus
After reading the poster Clara felt sad for the woman. She hoped that she was okay. She also thought of the woman’s poor family.
She soon forgot about the poster as she hopped on the early bus to get to work. She should have remembered.
Getting To Work
She got to the motel right on time and started prepping her cleaning supplies. Then she set off into the corridors to get to work.
She then noticed a man walking out of his room. She knew that his room was on his list. But there was something about the man that she couldn’t shake.
Who Was The Man?
Clara felt that she had seen the man before, maybe it was the beard? Or the height? She wasn’t sure, she just assumed he was “one of those people” with a recognizable face.
She brushed it off and got to work cleaning her first room, she thought that it would be a normal day. It wouldn’t be the case.
Another Room To Clean
A couple of hours passed, and Clara had managed to clean two rooms. Up next on her list? The suite she saw the rugged man checking out of earlier.
The suite was a much larger room so it was going to take a lot more time (and effort,) but nothing could have prepared Clara for what she would find.
A Terrible Smell
As soon as she set foot into the suite, a terrible smell lingered in the air. What had the person in here been eating? It smelt like rotting meat mixed with rotting cheese.
Clara pulled up her cleaning cart and got out her wipes. She had no idea that something truly unimaginable was a mere few feet away.
Getting To Work
Clara got to work and started cleaning the suite. But she couldn’t help but notice that the gross smell still lingered around. What could it be?
She carried on cleaning, singing out loud to her favorite pop song. She thought she was all alone in the motel room, but unbeknownst to her, somebody was watching her every move.
Under The Mattress
After finishing cleaning the bathroom, Clara headed over to the two large beds. Armed with a fresh pair of cotton-scented sheets she was planning to strip the bed and replace it.
She lifted the mattress to take the sheet off and what she saw left her lost for words.
Someone Was Watching Her
Just as Clara let out a gasp at what she saw under the mattress, she noticed a flashing light coming from across the room.
Clara’s heart dropped when she realized the light was coming from a camera. She stood terrified. Somebody was watching her.
Panic washed over her. She looked back at what was hiding under the mattress and slowly reached out her hand.
Who had put this here? And more importantly, why? It was an average-sized envelope, brown in colour and it was addressed to no one. But something looked off.
The envelope looked old and ragged, it was also bulky. Whatever was inside was pushing out at the seams.
Clara held the envelope between her hands, aware that that strange man had set up a spycam in his room. But this was a motel. What was he hiding?
Suddenly, Clara thought of the missing woman she had seen on the bus shelter earlier. “She was last seen with a tall, scruffy man who may be armed and dangerous”, Clara repeated the poster’s words in her mind.
Her palms began to sweat as her mind raced with worst case scenarios. Was this man dangerous? Should she leave the envelope and run?
Clara gripped the envelope as she slowly made her way to the other side of the room, and away from the flashing light.
She wanted to run away from the room but she had to see what was inside the envelope. What if it had to do with the missing woman?
Clara’s curiosity was driving her wild. The entire situation was far too mysterious. If she left and missed a cry for help or a key clue in a woman’s disappearance, how could she live with herself?
She decided she simply couldn’t walk away. Her heart raced as she opened it. What she saw changed her life forever.
Clara’s eyes widened as she took in the contents of the envelope before her head tilted to the side and her eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
The note was small. On the front it read: “To the motel cleaner, Clara. I’m glad you’ve found this. Please enjoy this surprise. You deserve it”.
Inside The Envelope
It was a cash tip! But it wasn’t just a mere two figure cash tip, it was a $500 tip! Clara couldn’t believe she was holding $500 in her hands. What was going on?
Hundreds of questions ran through her mind. Then suddenly, Clara heard a hard knock at the door.
She almost felt like she had to run and hide. But cleaning these rooms after use was her job. Why did she feel like she was somewhere she shouldn’t be?
She looked over at the hidden camera at the other end of the room and steadied herself as she moved towards the door.
Someone At The Door
Slowly, Clara made her way to the door and peeked through the peephole. She gasped out loud when she saw it was the rugged guy from earlier.
The same rugged guy who had been in this suite a mere few hours ago. What was going on?
What Did He Want?
Clara opened the door and was greeted by the rugged man with a smile plastered on his face. He saw the cash in her hands and looked straight at Clara. “We need to talk,” he said.
Without a second to waste the rugged man barged inside the suite with Clara inside it, and slammed the door shut.
Telling The Truth
Clara could feel panic and fear wash over her. Who was this man? What did he want? Was he the one recording her or was he the one who gave her the tip?
He certainly didn’t look like he was. They haven’t even met each other before. How could he have been the one to tip her? She held on to her letter tight.
Clara suddenly realized the seriousness of the situation she was in right now. She stood in front of the tall man, waiting for him to explain why he barged inside.
The rugged man sat Clara down on the bed, ready to reveal the truth. But Clara wasn’t prepared for it. Not one bit.
It Was Him
As it turns out, this rugged man was the one that left the $500 tip and he had left it specifically for Clara.
Clara stared at him in complete confusion. They had never met before so why did he leave a tip for her and how did he even know her name? The answer was incredible.
Unbeknownst to Clara, they actually did meet before. About 5 years ago when Clara was pregnant with her latest child.
He remembered meeting her and watching her as she struggled with her pregnancy and working hard. The two only had one conversation but it was enough for Clara to leave an impact on him.
Clara tried her best to remember him but she meets so many people everyday. She felt awful that she couldn’t remember but he told her not to worry.
He always admired the work ethic and hard work cleaners and those in hospitality have. Clara thanked him – but was he the one recording her?
A Very Happy Ending
The secret camera was also his; he wanted to catch the reaction of a hotel cleaner receiving a generous and incredible tip.
He wanted to share the message online and wanted her reaction to brighten up other people’s day. Little did he know how much this brightened up Clara’s day.
When Clara was told the truth, she let out a sigh of relief, before quickly hugging the rugged man and thanking him 20 times. This stranger truly had just made her year, let alone week!
As a single mom, Clara couldn’t turn away the generous help and gave him permission to post his wonderful surprise online!