Not all that long ago, I was in the executive lounge of a hotel in Davao, Philippines. As I enjoyed the downtime around 7:30 p.m., having a glass of Pinot Grigio, I noticed a lively discussion a few tables over. However, I also had my MacBook Pro with me, and since I was alone, focused on reviewing the many emails that had accumulated in my Inbox.

The Situation

From what I can gather, there was an Australian man, probably in his late 50s, and a Filipino woman (in her 40s) with a young child having a conversation. A first glance, it appeared the couple was married. Another gentleman was present, and he appeared to be a lawyer of sort.

Everyone at the table was drinking an alcoholic drink of their choice. A short time later, a 20-something-year-old Filipino woman approached the table. She was dressed more as if she were going to a nightclub, and this led to a few heads turning. She made her way to the seasoned Australian man and gave him a kiss on the cheek.


After the young woman sat down at the table and ordered her cocktail, all hell broke loose:

Older Woman: You stupid bi*#h! You stole my husband!

Young Woman: He didn’t want to be with you anymore!

Older Woman: We hired you to clean the house and take care of our child, not to sleep with my husband!

The older woman slapped the younger lady, and the sound reverberated in the lounge. There were two businessmen sitting nearby, and they made a beeline for the exit.

The argument gained momentum, and the women stood up and starting pulling each other’s hair. The Australian man and attorney-looking-guy sat comfortably in their chairs, as if they were placing a bet on the fight.

Interestingly, the hotel staff members in the lounge were shocked, and most of them were motionless. I think one of them decided to call the front desk to ask for assistance. You would think that hotel security or law enforcement might be the first call.

I Jumped In

I’m not sure what prompted me to jump in and try to break-up the “pulling hair” fight. Thinking back, it was probably a bad idea. There are far too many things that could go wrong. For example, a broken wine glass can cause damage in several ways. The Australian guy, who was about 100-pounds overweight, might pounce on me. There is no doubt that the risks outweighed the benefits. I should have followed the lead from the businessmen, and headed out the door.

I think that my college referee instincts kicked-in. It’s a natural reaction for me to try and break up a situation before it escalates. With officiating, however, I have more control, and security personnel are just a few feet away. Not here!

It took hotel security about 10 minutes to make their way to the lounge. When they arrived, I was in the middle of the two ladies, trying to separate them. I still remember trying to break the grip that the older woman had on the young lady’s hair. I couldn’t get my fingers in-between.

Once the situation was diffused, I was surprised to hear that the hotel staff offered the culprits an alcoholic drink.

This was a good sign that I needed to get back to my room.