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.