Tui re­funds cou­ple over ho­tel’s ef­figy blun­der

The Guardian - - NATIONAL - Frances Per­raudin

The travel com­pany Tui has re­funded a cou­ple for their hol­i­day af­ter ho­tel staff at a Ja­maican re­sort left an ef­figy of their dead son in their room as a mis­guided trib­ute.

Faye and An­drew Stephens have made it an an­nual tra­di­tion to cel­e­brate their son’s birth­day fol­low­ing his death aged 22 in 2014. Alex Stephens died af­ter fall­ing from a bal­cony while on hol­i­day in Spain.

Alex’s god­mother, Karen Baker, who was on hol­i­day with the cou­ple, had asked staff at the five-star Roy­al­ton Re­sort to sur­prise them with bal­loons and cake in their bed­room to mark the oc­ca­sion.

The ho­tel work­ers in­stead cre­ated an ef­figy by stuff­ing the cou­ple’s clothes with tow­els, and ar­ranged it on the bed. The fig­ure had tears on its face and a can of lager in its hand and was po­si­tioned next to petals spell­ing out: “We miss you Alex”.

“When I walked into the bed­room, all I can de­scribe is a dummy body on the bed,” Baker told the BBC’s Three Coun­ties Ra­dio. “I was ab­so­lutely hor­ri­fied.”

A Tui UK spokesper­son said: “We of­fer our sin­cere apolo­gies … We’re fol­low­ing up with the ho­tel and be­lieve it was a mis­un­der­stand­ing with no in­ten­tion to cause up­set.”

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