Return To Renaissance

We’re staycationing at Renaissance Hotel in Richardson this weekend, but how we got there is quite a story.

Johanna and I celebrate the anniversary of our blind date to see Star Wars Episode One every year, that was May 21, 1999. Coincidently, in late May, Richardson hosts the Wildflower Festival with awesome throwback nineties and cover bands. It’s always on the Renaissance Hotel campus, and we’ve always dreamed of getting a room overlooking the alt-rock stage.

So that year for our “Johanna-versary”, I booked two nights at the Renaissance, bought Jo’s favorite craft beer, and hit up our favorite takeout, Snappy Salads. We arrived at the hotel after valet parking with a weekend’s worth of bags, craft beer, and fancy big salads. Walking in was welcoming and surreal to have pulled off the start of this wicked weekend.

I approached the check-in desk with Johanna. Excited to check in.

“What’s your name, sir?”

“Williams, Richard.”

“Yes sir, I show that your reservation starts Monday night. Unfortunately, there is a big concert this weekend, and we’re all booked up,”

“Oh, no, I just got off the phone with reservations. They confirmed everything. The room is paid for. We’re here for the concert.”

“Yes, sir, the room is paid for, starting Monday night. Let me speak with our desk manager…Okay sir, our regular rooms are sold out, but we believe we can set you up in a suite until your reservation begins Monday.”

“Oh, that’s very kind, we can get this sorted out in the meantime.”

“Yes, sir, I’ve just been made aware you have a package awaiting your arrival. Would you like me to bring it to your suite?”

“How exciting, yes please, I wonder what it could be!”

It was a laptop computer and projector for a series of presentations Rick Williams from Dell Computers would be making the next week. It was NOT a Johanna-versary care package from our parents. They spent a while in the back room looking at the package and calling in various management and team members to discuss this unprecedented event: TWO N’ER DO WELLS WERE SOMEHOW IMPERSONATING A GUEST.

We didn’t stop at stealing a weeks worth of hotel suites and room service, though. We had tried to claim ownership of thousands of dollars worth of media and computer equipment delivered that day by Dell Computers. We, of course, knew NONE of this. We were just being patient, but growing a little concerned about the sinking faces on the growing team in the reservations office at the Renaissance Hotel. Suddenly, a wall of solemn employees returned to the desk.

“Sir, is your name Rick Williams?”

“Yes, I go by Rich, but my name is Richard Williams.”

“And do you work for Dell Computers?”

“No…I work for a startup downtown.”

Noticing security appearing from nowhere.

“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to please leave the property now.”

There was no rock and roll that night. The salads wilted, the beer got warm, and the mood got dark, fast.

At some point that night, a third shift worker reconciling the reservations made a note that Richard Williams was a no-show that night.

Saturday morning, a manager reconciling the security reports with the no-show charges made the connection: We had a reservation, but Rick Williams from Dell Computers did too.

There had been a terrible mistake.

There was a hailstorm of direct communication. I wrote up what I understood at the time that had happened and sent emails to everyone from Renaissance Richardson management to the CEO of Marriott. Monday morning, the CEO Called the president for Renaissance who reached out to the general manager in Richardson, who called me.

His apology was warm, sincere, eloquent, and true. He had interviewed the team members, learned the mistakes made, and apologized for, and explained each step. He promised retraining, corporate-level policy change, and assured us this would never happen again. Then, he gave me his email and direct line and offered that they’d love to have us back some time, for a weekend stay.

”Renaissance Dallas Richardson Welcomes Rich & Johanna Back”

From: General Manager

To: Rich Williams

Hello Rich,

Again, so many thanks to you for the graciousness of how professional you were to tell us of the very poor reception experience you encountered last Saturday

at R Hotel. My apology to you and Johanna for the embarrassment and humiliation for what should have been a wonderful evening in celebrating your 15th anniversary.

I always enjoy speaking with our guests as it can be a real learning experience

and I must thank you for taking my call and the humor you maintained while we chatted. Since I have your e-mail now I wanted to let you know a reservation has been placed for you and Johanna to return next Friday, May 30th for two nights. Your accommodation, breakfast, and garage parking is with our compliments along with the warm hospitality one would expect from a Marriott Family Hotel. Should I miss you upon Friday, do not hesitate to ask for me on Saturday as I will be walking around the hotel while I engage and hopefully inspire some of our guest to explore the North Texas area. There is a great restaurant and antique shopping just one stop north of us on the DART rail, I hope the foot is better and perhaps your able to make that discovery.

Rich, there is a very special suite with your name on it but it’s a secret for now, the confirmation # for your reservation is: ########. We are excited to have you back with us so to unlock the mystery and I guarantee you, you’ll be a real hero with Johanna for the celebration of your 15th anniversary!


PS: Dark beer, Italian & Mexican, got it.

General Manager


We felt better. Shell-shocked, but the explanation made sense. Without looking through the rest of that night’s reservations, they unfortunately concluded we were guest impersonators.

We picked another weekend, if I remember a few weeks later to return.

We were greeted at valet with complimentary service and an employee escorted us to the desk.

Every employee from that awful night introduced themselves by name and kindly apologized for the mixup.

The team informed us we would be staying in the presidential suite, and there would be no charge for our stay.


The bathtub was big enough for four people. Am I a bath guy? No. Did I take a bath? Heck yes, I did.


A table in the room was lined with tasty craft beer.


The hotel chef sent us a note requesting our thoughts on a menu they’d prepared for our surprise in-room meal on Saturday night.

Meat and cheese plate

Beside the beer, on the table, a huge meat and cheese platter. We ate all we could, and refrigerated the rest.

Room service

The hotel comped all our room service, including the tips we signed for after the quick deliveries.

Board room

Our room had a board room inside it with a giant table where the chef served our surprise in-room gourmet meal. I was the chairman of the board.

One of the beers acted as a paperweight for a handwritten apology and thank you note from the first-class manager.

We bought a Royal Blood EP to play in the Bose Sound Wave CD Player.

Subject: Thanks from Rich and Johanna


Hi GM, 


Johanna and I wanted to send you a handwritten “thank you” note, but time has slipped by and we now find ourselves a week out from one of the most unforgettable weekends of our lives! 


We want to thank you for the time and care your staff took to make sure every part of our stay was perfect. We were truly surprised by a number of special gestures and very much felt like a king and queen. 


The specially-prepared dinner in our room was also a stellar cherry on top of our flawless stay. The development and review of our special menu was unparalleled in any dining experience we’ve ever enjoyed. The relaxation we experienced after we set down our forks from the creme brûlée and fruit-adorned peanut brittle can only be described as bliss. 


Renaissance Hotels are now the official hotels of Rich and Johanna Williams and any subsequent endeavors we may experience professionally. We can’t wait to bring Charlie, Grann, Papa and the whole family to our next Renaissance destination! 


So Many Thanks! 

Rich and Johanna Williams

Rich & Johanna,

I am so glad that we were able to help to re-kindle what should have been right the first

time in celebrating our anniversary.  Taking care of people and making them feel special is what we do

and it is so much fun to hear back to know so I may share with our ambassadors.  They are just as excited

as you and Johanna. If you think you may have some interest for Wildflower next year, let me know and

I will set you up with a Friday night stay at a rate you can only say yes to. Thanks for sharing with me and

I wish you both, along with Grann, Papa & Charlie a wonderful Summer! 

Your Friend, GM


Lyrics to songs 2019-2020


The tortoise had purpose

And the hare was there

Running in races

From here to nowhere

But I am a sly fox

And I’ll see you there

Timing the paces from here to nowhere

The tortoise named Horace

A rabbit named Fred

I’m a fox named Jeffrey

Let’s put this to bed

The turtle determined

The rabbit had speed

But I have what they want

I’ve got what you need

The race started early

The tortoise the hare

I entered a bit late

The race to nowhere

One sped by me

Confident he’d already won

The other had pace like

A six shooter gun

But victorys sweet when you haven’t a care

A fox smiling thinking from here to nowhere

The race started early

The tortoise the hare

I entered a bit late

The race to nowhere

The bunny was funny we took time for beers

He wiggles his wet nose and perked up his ears

The tortoise inched by me and I didn’t win

I may not be first place but I’m his best friend

The race started early

The tortoise the hare

I entered a bit late

The race to nowhere

See Nowheres too futile

Racing everyday

With sore joints and backbones

Too old to make hay

But friends are blue ribbons

To this sly old fox

I’ll take to the backyard

In my brown cardboard box


There’s not enough love songs about 40-year-old women

I hope this one finds you well

All those young pop stars who sing about moms

Have records and products to sell

Well, I ain’t hawking nothing, my 401k’s awesome,

But my brain’s no longer clear as a bell.

There’s not enough love songs about 40-year-old women

So I’ve got a story to tell.

She was pretty when I met her, I won’t soon forget her,

But friend, you should see her now.

Her gray lights are curly but beautiful surely

I’m glad that I bought the cow.

She’s more fun to take out, I like eating steak out,

When she was twenty, she ate like a bird.

She’s smarter and sassy, and she doesn’t need to ask me

If I want my towels embroidered.

Her humor’s been refined by shows that have defined

The last forty years of our lives.

You’d be lucky to say hi, though she might just wave goodbye

She’s on a mission for stainless steak knives.

Her music’s stayed recent, but the nineties were decent,

Our son thinks there were dinosaurs then.

But she knows when a new star, drove a mickey mouse club car

She’d rather daydream about Paul Newman.

So I’ll boil it down here in this bridge about my dear.

Our twenties and thirties were lit.

But we’ll never be lonely, she’s my old and only

And those curves? Hey, I’m not dead yet.



Don’t run out of whiskey on Sunday. Don’t drink it all on Saturday night. Don’t finish your beer till Monday, friend everything will be all right

Cowboys they love their cervezas. But liquor is quicker by far. So if you start early round noontime. They don’t drive a horse or a car.

Ladies like fruit in their cocktails. Fellas like ladies just fine. Careful though if she says no sir. That’s where we all draw the line.

I’ll have a Lone star with lime wedge. She’ll have a whiskey that’s neat. I found out that neat just means whiskey. Oh, Lady, I’m pleased we could meet.

So sober up Cowboy on Sunday.

Til Texas allows Sunday sale.

But if your thirsty after service.

You can buy a beer or an ale.

drink up young cowboy on Sunday

But wait til the choir is done

Singing just as I am yessir

You’ll be at the Saloon by one.

(But Cowboy, if you *do* drink all your whiskey…)

Maybe try coffee and orange juice for breakfast.

Perhaps drink a tonic at noon.

Have soda pop with your supper.

Monday’s gonna be here soon.

Don’t run out of whiskey on Sunday…

Don’t drink it all Saturday night.

Don’t finish your Lone Star till Monday.

Friend—everything will be all right!


A candid Polaroid of you

Sits on the dash by my rear view

In my 13 year old faded car

we’ve come so far

We got matching tattoos and though

We sat there at the studio

Yours has a head it’s apple-like

And this is not a pipe

We don’t go out much

The cool kids at work say we’re out of touch

Compared with then I really don’t know much

But I’ve still got a crush

(I don’t mean to gush)

They say Brb and LoL

I’m sure that I should wish them well

But I wish they would go to smell

The roses

But focusing on what we’ve done

I’m happy he’s your number one

I’m second to our only son

He’s Got my nose

We don’t go out much

The cool kids at work say we’re out of touch

Compared with then I really don’t know much

But I’ve still got a crush

(I don’t mean to gush)

While we’re at each other’s throats some days

We’ll be feeding chicks and goats one day

Outside our vintage four square house we’ll say

I can’t believe we made it,

But I can because we gave it

Our best

We don’t go out much

The cool kids at work say we’re out of touch

Compared with then I really don’t know much

But I’ve still got a crush

(And yes, I meant to gush)