Any parent knows that a road trip with kids is challenging enough, but for an East Bay couple it became a nightmare.
It happened when their hotel lost their car key, leaving them stranded in Yosemite with their two small children.
Every year Amber Leyva and her family spend a long weekend at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite.
"They have sleigh rides during the snow and a swimming pool," Leyva said.
She has been going there since she was a child. Now, she and her husband are keeping the tradition going with their two small children.
"It's the perfect family place," Leyva said.
And their visit in February was the perfect family trip, until the problem at the end.
"We come to check out and the valet couldn't find our keys," Leyva said.
The valet had parked their car the night before. Now, nobody could find the keys and the couple didn't have a spare.
"Really we didn't feel a sense of urgency right away, we were kind of like, OK, no problem, easy going, we like being here," Leyva said.
Hours later, they still didn't have their key. The family missed their breakfast reservation at the famous Ahwahnee Hotel.
"As the morning started to increase, we started to realize, how are we going to get home?" Leyva said.
The day wore on and the kids grew restless. Toys and clothes were locked in the car.
"My 5-month-old was barely crawling at the time, my 2-year-old is rambunctious and wild and lively, and she was really going stir crazy," Leyva said.
Finally they had a plan. Amanda's parents would get the spare key from the Leyva's home in Newark and FedEx it to the hotel.
It would take seven hours, so the family checked back into their room and waited.
"We would take walks, touch the snow, counting the stairs as we went up and down the stairs," Leyva said.
Darkness fell, the key arrived and they drove home. The hotel promised to reimburse the cost of a new key, which is not simple because it's a digital device costing nearly $500.
Leyva sent the invoice to the hotel, but never got reimbursed. A month later an assistant manager promised the money was on its way, but it wasn't.
7 On Your Side contacted Tenaya Lodge and the general manager responded right away. He not only reimbursed the cost of the key, but also refunded their hotel stay and offered another two-night stay for free.
A spokesperson said the manager handling their case had left her job before providing the refund saying, "We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience to the Leyva family, wish we had been made aware of the lapse in any communication
sooner and hope that they will return as our guests to continue a wonderful family tradition enjoying Yosemite."
"That was always our goal is to continue to make memories, take pictures in the same spots again enjoy the facilities," Leyva said.
7 On Your Side wants to thank Tenaya Lodge for really stepping up to make things right for this family. A good lesson to learn here is to take a spare key when you go on a road trip because it may come in handy.
7 ON YOUR SIDE
FAMILY & PARENTING