Soldier Turned Away from Hotel: He’s Old Enough to Fight but Not to Rent a Room There

imageedit_6_5352394837December 22, 2016

Written by Lorra B.

Crestwood Suites in south Fort Myers informed 20-year-old Army Pvt. 2ndClass Mason Ritums that he was not old enough to rent a room at their hotel. The minimum age to rent a room there is 21, no exceptions considered.

This fort Myers hotel currently has a ranking of 1.5 stars out of a possible 5 stars, according to TripAdvisor, though this probably did not come as a surprise to the Ritum family.

Evonn Peterson, Ritums’ stepmother, said, “I am so outraged” at In Town Suites of Atlanta. “If our children can fight for this country then they should be able to get a hotel room.”

According to Florida Statute 509.095, state law would agree with Evonn Peterson that the hotel illegally turned Ritum away.

Accommodations at public lodging establishments for individuals with a valid military identification card.—Upon the presentation of a valid military identification card by an individual who is currently on active duty as a member of the United States Armed Forces, National Guard, Reserve Forces, or Coast Guard, and who seeks to obtain accommodations at a hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast inn, as defined in s. 509.242, such hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast inn shall waive any minimum age policy that it may have which restricts accommodations to individuals based on age. Duplication of a military identification card presented pursuant to this section is prohibited.

Open Arms is a “Florida and Maryland-based nonprofit that has provided a variety of services over 12 years to active duty military folks assigned to overseas posts or in combat zones,” according to, and Capt. John Bunch is its founder.

Bunch stated, “No one’s pulled the under-age 21 restriction on us.”

In Town Suites, however, was unaware of that law and said as much when News-Press contacted vice president of sales and marketing, Collier Daily.

Daily stated, “I am not aware of that law.”

He went on to say that he would have waived the age policy had he ‘personally’ know of the soldier’s situation. What happened to the ‘no exceptions policy’ I wonder?

“With an active-duty military person so close to that age, we certainly will check him in.”

What happened to the ‘no exceptions policy?’ I wonder…

Daily reached out to Peterson to convey the message that her stepson would be welcome to stay should he chose to.

Peterson stated, however, that “He’s not going to check in there. We’ll figure out something else.”


Crestwood Suites in south Fort Myers (Photo Credit: TripAdvisor Snapshot)

Crestwood Suites in south Fort Myers (Photo Credit: TripAdvisor Snapshot)



Written by Lorra B.

16 thoughts on “Soldier Turned Away from Hotel: He’s Old Enough to Fight but Not to Rent a Room There

  1. By the way from this article you posted I learned something and so basic: I learned the Army has “Private Second class.” In the Marines there is no such thing so I actually googled it.


  2. After reading the story, the reviews and the comments, it sounds like the staff did that young fellow a favor. What a horrible, dangerous place. That doesn’t justify the unkindness, of course, I’m ‘just sayin’. Poor guy. I hope he found a nice hotel that treated him kindly. ~:)


  3. I personally consider a uniformed, active duty member of any branch gets an automatic pass on any such things. At that point, I don’t care about laws or policies. Need a room? Fine. Want a drink? Which brand? As long as they’re being civil and just being a citizen, they get respect and accommodation. Period.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Yep, and that is how some of our screwy laws get put on the back shelf … then they are used only when beneficial to Jerks… During the makeover of law and order, Trumps people should clean house on some of these really stupid and discriminatory laws, … just like the one mentioned, if a person 17yrs can go to war, then he should be old enough to drink, rent a motel room, and vote… accountability, personal responsibility, should be given to anyone who can enter the armed service and sacrifice limb and life for our nation, as a free citizen. Any Freedoms we enjoy, mandate our personal responsibility, and accountability. One of the liberal ideologies is the government controls the liberty and freedoms, and they assume the responsibilities. That is why the liberal-establishment have been slowly taking our constitutional rights away. It falls into the global socialist parameters ….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Brittius and commented:
    Know that one, real good. Rotated home from Southeast Asia at age 20 with a combat tour under my belt. Couldn’t have a beer in a bar. I wore my uniform and went where other military personnel drank. Only one wise ass bartender questioned me, until a couple sailors pointed out my fruit salad and they, not me, threatened to tear the place apart. (Thanks, guys.)

    Liked by 4 people

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