Trembling hotel clerk can't finish shift after robber points gun at her face, gets fired

Posted at 1:37 AM, Jan 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-27 03:37:45-05

WESTMINSTER, Colo. -- A gunman walked into the lobby of the Westminster La Quinta Inn Saturday night, pointed a gun at the clerk and demanded cash.

Kathy Grauer said the experience left her so shaken, she couldn’t finish her shift.

“I was honestly sick to my stomach,” she said.

Grauer was working behind the front desk at the La Quinta on Turnpike Drive, when a  man appeared at the front door around midnight.

"The doors were already locked," she said, "but I thought he was a guest."

Grauer told Denver7 she let him in and he pointed a gun at her face.

“I thought it was a joke, and he’s like, ‘Give me the money,’” she said.

Grauer said she began trembling as she opened the register and handed over the cash.

“That’s when (an actual) guest walked in,” she said. “(The robber) pointed the gun at him and said, ‘give me your wallet.’  The guest said, ‘no.’  He tells the guest, ‘I’m going to shoot you and the guest says, ‘go ahead.’”

Grauer said the gunman then turned around and hoofed it toward the front door.  That’s when she noticed there was a second guy holding the door open for him.

She said both took off running.

She said when police arrived, they tried to calm her.

“I was so scared,” she said.  “The officer was like, ‘just breathe.’”

Grauer said she called her brother and a friend and then called her boss and told her she couldn’t finish the shift.

She said her boss told her that her friend could stay there all night.

When her boss didn’t call in a replacement, Grauer decided to go home anyway.

“I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “I wasn’t thinking clearly.”

On Monday, Grauer said she talked to her boss about security video.

“She said, ‘are you planning to come back to work?’ I said, ‘I like my job. I’d like to keep it,’” Grauer said. “And she said, ‘Oh well, unfortunately, we have to let you go.’ I said, ‘Okay, so why did you ask me?’”

The former employee said she doesn’t want her job back, she just wants people to know what happened to her.

"I worked a 16 hour shift the night before," she said. "I'm a good worker, a hard worker and am willing to do anything."

Westminster Police say they’re trying to obtain security video to see what happened and to possibly identify who was involved.

They said there appears to have been two suspects and that both were wearing hoodies.

In a statement emailed to Denver7, Teresa Ferguson, director of public relations for La Quinta Inn & Suites said:

We are aware of the unfortunate event that took place at the La Quinta Inn in Westminster.  At La Quinta, we have guidelines in place to help ensure the safety and security of our guests and employees.  Due to employment privacy policies, we are unable to comment on the incident involving Ms. Grauer.

When asked if her boss said anything when she fired her, Grauer replied, “She told me it was job abandonment.”

“It was absurd,” Grauer added. “I just got robbed at gunpoint.  I had two boys at home sleeping and my thought was, I just want to go home and hug my boys.”