Wounded veteran from Jay mocked at Best Western

MONAHANS, Texas — Staff Sgt. Chad Staples was serving as an Army sniper in Baghdad in April 10, 2007, when his convoy was ambushed.

Chad Staples

Staples, a 2002 graduate of Jay High School in Maine, was serving his second tour of duty as an Army Ranger in Iraq. During the firefight that followed the ambush, he provided cover fire for a downed soldier and then used his body to shield that soldier and a medic when they were going back to the truck. A bullet pierced Chad Staples’ body armor and paralyzed him from the waist down, his father said.

But Staples, who is a recipient of the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, said when a Best Western employee in Monahans mocked him and laughed at him when he asked for help down the stairs from his third-floor hotel room because the elevator was broken, he questioned the nation for which he fought.

“I didn’t need to be carried down the stairs, let’s get that clear," Staples said. "I needed somebody to help me get my bags and wheelchair down the stairs. I’ve never had that bad of a day where I’m just randomly rude to someone — and the consequence is that (someone is) stuck at the top floor of a hotel.”

Although Best Western has issued a corporate statement offering an apology and has called Staples several times, he said he was not yet accepting their apology.

A corporate news release stated that the company had apologized to Staples and refunded his hotel bill, as well as expressed the company’s support for the armed forces and promised that its branches strive to “ensure that all our guests are treated with dignity and respect."

The Monahans News reported hotel owner Andy Patel said staff could have injured Staples if they attempted to help him. Patel also told The News that hotel policy is to call EMS to request help, but he was not sure why that policy was not followed.

“This is a very unfortunate thing,” Patel said to The News. “I have worked very hard in Monahans for 30 years.”

Patel told The News that when he checked Staples in, Staples had no problem being on the third floor, and that other rooms were unavailable because Staples was checking in earlier than the 3 p.m. check-in time.

Staples said several Best Western-representative calls have included excuses and one seemed a sincere apology with the willingness to change. But it’s not enough.

“Apologies mean nothing. Actual actions mean everything,” Staples said. “Nothing has changed. They haven’t fired that woman and they haven’t changed their policies.”

An emailed statement attributed to Craig Smith, director of communications for Best Western International, stated that they believed in a call from a senior vice president, Staples “expressed there was nothing further he expected on our end,” which Staples denied. However, Staples said he had no interest in a lawsuit.

Staples’ father, Bob Staples of Jay, Maine, said he was appalled when he learned of his son’s story.

“Whether he’s military or not, he has a disability," Bob Staples said. "You don’t treat anybody like that, but you certainly don’t treat someone with a disability like that. He gave up his ability to walk to save the life of another person. And he did; he saved the lives of other people.”

Chad Staples said the exchange with the employee began six hours after he checked into the hotel to rest on his trip from California to North Carolina, where he lives.

When he woke up, rolling blackouts caused the elevator to be shut down, and he called the front desk to ask for help.

The woman who answered mocked his request, Staples said.

“She said, ‘Are you serious?’” Staples said. He answered, “Yes, I’m in a wheelchair.”

Then Staples said she retorted, “What do you want me to do about it?” causing him to hang up the phone.

When he spoke with a manager, Staples said the man claimed he couldn’t do anything.

After Staples posted the story on his Facebook profile, it went viral, with many calling for a boycott and criticizing Best Western on its main Facebook page and in blogs.

Staples requested in his original story that people boycott the chain, and his story has been picked up by CNN’s iReport and several veteran advocate websites, including Guardian of Valor.

Both Staples men said they support the boycott of Best Westerns.

David Cutbirth, the mayor of Monahans, said he was shocked at what happened and that the people of Monahans don’t act like that.

“It does not reflect most of the people of Monahans,” Cutbirth said. “In fact, you’re going to have some extremely outraged people in Monahans because someone was treated this way, especially a veteran.”

Cutbirth recommended that Patel fire the employee to make things right, but said neither the city nor its people can run Patel’s business for him.

The Odessa American was unable to speak directly with Patel on Thursday.

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Roger Moulton's picture

Proud of you Chad.

Chad, I hope you don't question the country that you fought for. There are gonna be people like that everywhere in every country. Most of us in this country appreciate what you've done. You were part of the flag ceremony at a funeral service I attended, and I didn't know you well in school but was really amazed at the honor and dignity that you presented. You truly honored the man whom you've probably never met, but you knew had the bravery and courage that you did and stood up for what you believe in. There are still good people in this country that understand you gave what most of us could not. Please don't think that your efforts were for nothing or that nobody cares that you did what you did. It takes a crazy amount of courage to go where you've gone and do what you've done, especially considering you are not an overly big guy. lol It's rare to find someone that has that courage and strength but can be so passive and friendly in the public. You're one heck of a guy Chad and we appreciate the sacrifice that you have made.
NOW to you meatheads talking about politcs in these comments I highly suggest you go get a life. This story was about a disabled American treated poorly and how he is a veteran that gave what you very likely have not and you are going to use this as a forum for politics? SHAME ON YOU!

Roger Moulton's picture


I'm sorry Chad it was not you at the funeral it was another Jay graduate. but all the same you have done what you have for our country and don't let a few sour grapes ruin your thoughts about why you did what you did or if you did it for an unappreciative country because you are very much appreciated.

It's just WRONG!!!

I have been real close friends with Chad since we were little and served the country myself. I do not believe in self pitty however I do believe in respect to one who has served. Especially one who has taken a bullet or two to save others. I understand that people are very opinionated about the forces however,my wife lived in Texas for five years and could not believe the rude,selfish,thieves that were there,so much worse than here! I agree that there are rude people everywhere but lets all take a close look at this story!! Who cares about the governors or presidents!!! This is an individual that served "OUR COUNTRY" not saying just Maine or Texas....as if this is even an issue of "do it yourself" really?!! as was said in another message that when you my friend are lying in your own feces I hope that you stay there for a while! Meanwhile I will continue to have my own beliefs that the lady at the front counter should have been fired on the spot and the manager who said that he could not do anything about it! In all hopes that they may not be able to sleep another night knowing that he just needed his things carried down the stairs...not help. That is no excuse! He can get around just fine without his chair "if need be" so stop making excuses and open your eyes..!! Especially you "Painter Texas!!" get over yourself!! Keep your chin up my friend "Chad" and I will hopefully see you soon again..."YOUR BRO" ~Nick~

Steve  Dosh's picture

Wounded veteran from Jay mocked at Best Western

all , 14:14 HST ƒlyday
That's just plano w r o n g *<;-( . ....So is TX . W r o n g . Rick Perry ? You need drought aid from the U S Federal govt. , too . Your farmers and cattle are d y i n g
Alo'ha from Pahoa HI 96778 u s a /s Dr. Dosh

Jen Holmes's picture

Shocked and appalled

I am shocked and appalled that this happened to anyone with a disability. Where is the empathy in people today?? I just don't understand how people can be so hateful and disrespectful. It's ridiculous.

 's picture

Chad Staples

Inexcusable behavior. The woman should be fired immediately. But, also, please note that boycotting Best Western as a chain is pointless. Since they are independently owned and run, you'll end up hurting business people who are totally innocent of any affront. Boycott that individual hotel and find out what other hotels are owned by the same company (they could be Holiday Inns, Comfort Inns, Homeward Suites, etc) to boycott them. But don't penalize innocent owners for one owner's stupidity and insensitivity.

RONALD RIML's picture

Don't Mess with Texas......

Listening to the crap that came out of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's mouth during the debates, it's obvious they expect folks to be self-sufficient and take care of themselves down there.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

You're painting the whole

You're painting the whole state of Texas with a pretty broad brush, there, my friend.
Here's probably what happened---
a) Clerk gets a call for assistance the likes of which she's never been trained for or exposed to before.
b) Clerk is probably not even sure if the caller might just be bustin' her chops.
c) She's absolutely clueless about how to handle this situation.
d) The good part--clerk says and does all the wrong things.
Meanwhile, Sgt. Staples remains insulted and unassisted.

The parrot sez he's still trying to figure out what Rick Perry had to do with this.

RONALD RIML's picture

You're damn right I'm painting the whole state of Texas

with a broad brush there.

They're just not right neighborly to one another as we are in Maine. They have a violent crime rate which is 450.3 per 100,000 population - ours is nearly a quarter of that at 122.0 per 100,000 population. (3.7:1)

Perhaps they just don't have the consideration for other folks, or the upbringing we do.



PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Didn't I read just last week

Didn't I read just last week that Maine leads the nation in stabbing deaths?

RONALD RIML's picture

Must have been on one of Murdoch's rags....

No - we're one of the least violent states in the country, about #41 or so for homicides, and most of those are firearms.



PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Actually, it was in the

Actually, it was in the Journal. It was either focused on Maine or Lewiston, but I'll chase it down further. Then, I can report for others to distort.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Bangor Daily News 8/3/12 2009

Bangor Daily News 8/3/12
2009 Maine 5th in nation in stabbing related deaths
2010 Maine 1st in nation in stabbing related deaths

RONALD RIML's picture

You are misreading statistics......

We are not 5th (or 1st) in nation in stabbing related deaths......

It is that a higher percentage of our homicides (which our very few) are caused by knives - rather than guns. See - http://bangordailynews.com/2012/08/03/news/state/statistics-show-maine-h...

We had 24 homicides in 2010. The state I came from, Illinois, had 706.

C'mon, Paul.... Get a clue......



PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Not misreading anything; you

Not misreading anything; you just happen not to like what it says.

RONALD RIML's picture

Tell us what it 'really' says.

Do you think we are 1st or 5th in stabbing deaths???

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The parrot wants to know if

The parrot wants to know if that's a trick question, or multiple choice. Sez he's inclined to take the 5th.

RONALD RIML's picture

Take the 5th?? You drank it...

This is your cluster-phucque - you brought it home with you - you own it.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Last time I checked, my name

Last time I checked, my name was on neither the BDN nor the LSJ versions of the article. I own none of it. Someone else wrote it; they own it. I'm having a few laughs with this thing. Some appear to be looking for Pulitzer material.

RONALD RIML's picture

You brung this 'Pig' to the dance

Don't try ditchin' her now.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"AWWRIGHT!!!", said the

"AWWRIGHT!!!", said the bellicose parrot to the four detectives attempting to interrogate him in the interrogation room, "What is it you fine fellows wanna know? Hmmm?"

RONALD RIML's picture

So link to the story

So link to the story

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Link??? Google BDN 8/3/12


Google BDN 8/3/12 It's all right there

Steve  Dosh's picture

Paul , 14:14 HST Friday TX

Paul , 14:14 HST Friday
TX generally sux
So does their Governors
Anything good ever come out of there ?
A: _________________________ .
/s , Steve

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

I would pay handsomely to

I would pay handsomely to witness you make those two statements and ask that one question to a native Texan face to face and man to man. Something tells me you would come up short on testicular fortitude. There are 48 other states besides Maine and Hawaii, Steve, and guess what? They don't all suck.

RONALD RIML's picture

Some good does come out of Texas.

They're called 'Illegal Immigrants' and they come here to work........

Are you happy now???

RONALD RIML's picture

I've haven't been to all fifty states.

But I have been to Texas a number of times. And it's not getting better with age.

I see absolutely no reason to ever return.

Jen Bernier's picture


Wow! I cannot believe the ignorance of some people. This woman should have been fired no questions asked. But thats ok..she will get whats coming to her. Some day when she is laying in her death bed and messes herself. She will ask some young CNA to change her, and the young girl will relpy" Are you serious?, sorry lady my shift is over" I hope at this moment when she is lying in her own feces, she will think back about the time she treated the young veteran, whom risked his life for the sake of our country like dirt. People under estimate the importance of our U.S. Soldiers, and take advantage that they risk their lives for our country and then come home and lack the respect and services they deserve.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Jen , 14 :30 Friday " I

Jen , 14 :30 Friday
" I cannot believe the ignorance of some people. " Believe it ?
Don't forget that Laura Bush was ostensibly a school teacher from there
Compare and contrast her and her husband with either the Clintons or the Obamas ( Yale - Harvard , Princeton , Summa Cum Laude granduates , Senators , SECSTATE , etc )
They aren't the brightest lights on the string they'ya in Plain 'ole, TX
Don't even get me started on the Fundametalist Church of The Latter Day Saints located in ( you guess it ) , Texas http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamentalist_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_La...
The thing is i - L I K E - the Mormons and happen to know Sen. Harry Reid ( D - NV ) personally . /s Steve Dosh FSO (ret.)

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Yeah, but at least Bush was

Yeah, but at least Bush was able to keep his zipper up while in the oval office.

RONALD RIML's picture


He was a wuss......

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Philanderers make the best

Philanderers make the best presidents, eh? As long as they're dems, right?

RONALD RIML's picture

Better than a Philistine.....

"A person who is hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts, or who has no understanding of them."

- That pretty well sums up Dubya......

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Dubya had a great and

Dubya had a great and dignified understanding of the presidential job description, part of which states that a president does not have sex with a 20 year old intern while in the oval office supposedly doing the work of the American people. Something that frequently eluded Slick Willy. Dubya never dishonored the office of the President. Clinton did; that's why he was impeached.
But, you would have us believe that POTUS is the opposite of that? The same POTUS who can't say Massachusetts without castrating it to "Masstwozits"? Or, are we talking about the POTUS who traveled to 57 states while campaigning? Or maybe the POTUS whose wife once said, "Let me tell you about who me and Barack are". Really not very first lady like, there, Shelly.
That stuff runs down both side of the aisle, don't it?


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