Hotel policy prevents Big Spring family from renting room

BIG SPRING -- Seven-year-old Alexander Chavez has struggled with asthma for years.

His grandmother, Nora Vesa, says his condition is so bad that he must take regular breathing treatments with a nebulizer. Losing access to his lifesaving machine would be unwelcome news.

That's exactly what happened Monday evening after a large grass fire tore through Big Spring, knocking out power for thousands, including the home where Alexander lives.

“When I got out of work, I came to my daughter’s house last night, and we were trying to figure out where are we going to stay at. Because my grandbabies use these nebulizers,” said Vesa.

Vesa has six grandchildren and one on the way and almost all the family struggles with asthma and breathing problems, including five-month-old Ava Jean. When the power went out Grandma Nora sprang into action.

“So, we get on Google and the first hotel/motel that popped up was West Texas Inn,” Vesa explains.

West Texas Inn, a privately-owned hotel in Big Spring, with a vacancy to spare.

“I called them and they’re like, ‘are you a resident of Big Spring?’, and I said, ‘yes sir’, he replies, ‘well we don’t rent rooms to residents of Big Spring’,” Vesa recalled.

CBS 7 called West Texas Inn for an explanation and their answer wasn't exactly what we expected. Off-camera, a hotel employee said that the hotel has had drug and crime problems with tenants from Big Spring and that's why the family was denied.

“It was heart-breaking that I had to have that first phone call with the employees at West Texas Inn,” said Vesa.

But, according to Big Spring Mayor Larry McClellan, although it's not illegal to have this kind of policy put in place he says there are other ways to deal with those kinds of issues.

“If someone comes in and you’ve had a problem with that person before and you feel like there’s drug deals or something like that going on, I think just be up front and say, ‘it’s our policy, that we don’t rent to those who are doing things other than just spending the night in our hotel room’,” said Mayor McLellan.

But this grandma of seven says that she hopes the business will re-think its policy.

“We should all stick together as a community and be as one,” Vesa said.

Eventually, the family was able to find a hotel to stay in Monday night.

Most power in the city was restored around sunrise Tuesday morning.