Thousands Outraged after Columbus Super 8 Kicks Homeless Couple into Freezing Temp. for Lacking ID


Thousands Demand Wyndham Hotels Make Amends After It Kicked Homeless Couple Lacking ID Out Into Freezing Temperatures

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On Valentine’s Day, the temperature in Columbus, OH was less than 10 degrees. George and Joyce Gruss were travelling through the state when they met a homeless couple with no place to go. The Grusses replied by generously buying the couple three nights in a Super 8 motel room. An hour later, a hotel security guard called them to let them know they had evicted the couple for failing to produce ID, and wouldn’t be issuing a refund.

In reaction to Super 8 Hotel’s callous and irresponsible actions, a new Care2 petition already signed by more than 66,000 people backs the Gruss family and demands that Wyndham Hotel Group — the owner of Super 8 — immediately change its policies to ensure this never happens again. The Care2 petition also asks Super 8 Hotels to make amends with the aggrieved parties.


The Care2 petition has been signed by people from all over the world, many of whom wrote comments pledging to boycott all of Wyndham’s properties – which include Days Inn, Ramada, Travelodge, and Howard Johnson – until the corporation reforms the way it treats homeless customers.

“After hearing that, I definitely won’t be staying at any of their hotels unless this is fixed, and fast!” wrote Emily Clow of British Columbia.

The Grusses met the homeless couple, Stephanie and Louise, in a Wendy’s off Interstate 71 during a drive to Dayton. While eating, they noticed a woman at a nearby table crying, and asked what was wrong. The couple said they were homeless and had missed a nearby shelter’s curfew that evening. They had come up with $60 but no hotel would take them because they lacked ID — a common plight among the homeless, who often don’t have the necessary documents to obtain ID. The Grusses used their own ID and paid for three nights at a Super 8. They were back on the road when they learned the couple had been kicked out.

The Care2 petition is addressed to Wyndham CEO Geoff Ballotti. It states, “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!”

George says he has since spoken with representatives from Wyndham Hotel Group. He says they did not object to the way he tried to help Stephanie and Louise. They told him individual franchise locations set their own policies, but promised to look into the matter.

Still, George says he is saddened his attempt to help did not work out. “We’re not trying to bash Super 8,” he told ThinkProgress. “We’re just frustrated with one hotel.”

For more information, or for interviews with Care2 members, please contact Yasmina Dardari at (407) 922-8149 or by email at [email protected].