Over the years I have counseled and represented individuals working within the hospitality industry susceptible to alcohol or drug related offenses. Increasingly, those employed within the services industry are within proximity to available alcohol on a daily basis. Further, depending upon one’s position, many within the hospitality industry fall victim to alcohol dependency proximately caused by the unique nature of their employment.
Many such individuals feel compelled to become the “life of the party” and indulge in the festivities of corporate employers; serviced business clients or other preferred guests determined to have a good time often with the free flow of alcohol to fuel the atmosphere.
As a result, it is not at all uncommon for the same successful party planners and/or hospitality employees who are rewarded for becoming the catalyst for social activity to be the first scorned when alcohol dependency descends into unlawful activity.
Presently pending within Indianapolis is the case of an individual employed by the Westin Hotel who on game day for the Indianapolis Colts was handed the keys of the Bentley automobile owned by none other than star Colts receiver Reggie Wayne. The full relationship, if any, between this hotel employee and Wayne is unknown at this time.
The Westin hotel employee in question is accused of joyriding within the luxury automobile in a state of intoxication and faces dui charges for the offense within Marion County. Although police eventually identified Wayne as the lawful owner of the Bentley and returned the car to him, the person criminally charged will likely never work within the hospitality services industry again.
Most such cases never enter the public consciousness. It is only due to the fame of the alleged victim that an obvious lesson is broadcast of the potential hazards of entrusting a vehicle or other personal belongings to a third party; no matter the credibility or star rating of a particular hotel.
From my perspective as a dui lawyer versed in the root causes of alcohol dependency, such often sensationalized media stories often gloss over the underlying issues that can make otherwise reputable people engage in out of character human behavior.
Such cases serve as a cautionary tale not only to hotel patrons but also to all hospitality industry employees on the need to seek alcohol counseling should the need arise. For the broader public the circumstances of Reggie Wayne’s plight should remind us all that the third party employees of even the most reputable hotel establishments are not immune to out of character conduct when alcohol or drug dependency has become a lifestyle of continued employment.