A woman, who claims she was turned away from a Sioux City hotel because of her ethnicity, has posted a video of he encounter. That video has quickly gone viral.
Heather Baxter posted the video to Facebook on Monday, June 11th. Though she didn't record the initial encounter that sparked the incident, her posted video shows Baxter returning to the Days Inn in Sioux City to confront the clerk.
Baxter says she was denied a room at Days Inn because she's Native American. Baxter is a member of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska. She claims the clerk told her that past visitors, from her tribe, trashed some of the rooms at the Days Inn. Baxter says she handed the front desk clerk her tribal ID, and was then denied a room. "Why can't you rent to me?" asks Heather Baxter in the Facebook video. "I was told that they're just not taking anybody from that particular group, because we have had issues with them," responded the Days Inn Hotel Clerk.
Another member of the Omaha Tribe, Michelle Free-LaMere, walked into the Days Inn the following day trying to get answers. Free-LaMere approached the person behind the desk asking for an explanation. "We have no problem with people staying here," said the Days Inn Desk Clerk. "But we don't accept rooms paid for by the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska. Just because every time they've sent somebody here and paid for the rooms, we've had problems. She was going to pay for the room herself, and the card declined. And she said she was going to call the tribe and they were going to pay for it for her. And that's when my front desk girl told her, 'we do not allow the tribe to pay for rooms here anymore because we have had problems."
We reached out to the property owner, and franchisee, of the Days Inn by Wyndham in Sioux City. They referred us to their Facebook page, which included a statement on the incident. In part, it says quote, "we take full responsibility for miscommunication during the event. Our employees should have been better trained on hotel payment policies. We humbly apologize for any pain or frustration this has caused our local community and visiting guests"
We reached out to the Omaha Tribe for comment on the hotel worker's allegations about tribal members damaging hotel rooms. We haven't received a response.
A "Stand for Equality" rally was planned for 6:00pm on Wednesday outside of the Days Inn off of Singing Hills Boulevard.