Nicholas Kristof Foils Hotel Room Intruder

An astonishing series of events in Philadelphia.

Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof learned the hard way today that it’s never wise to leave a hotel room door unlocked. Kristof alerted the world first via Twitter about today’s frightening experience, and has now followed up with a more detailed blog post.

Kristof had traveled to the City of Brotherly Love with is wife, Sheryl WuDunn, to attend a meeting of the American Philosophical Society. The couple is staying at the Franklin Hotel. After heading down this morning to get a cup of coffee, leaving behind a sleeping WuDunn and crossing paths with a man while waiting for the elevator, this happened to Kristof upon his return:

I pushed open the door and walked into the room–and there’s the same man inside my room, holding Sheryl’s purse. “What are you doing?” I shout. “Who are you?”

“Maintenance man,” he says, and tries to push past me, having dropped Sheryl’s purse. I block him and threaten to throw coffee over him. I shout to Sheryl to ask if she knows him or what he’s doing. She’s waking up, is astonished to see the confrontation in the room, and says she doesn’t know what he’s doing. She calls security, and that point he rushes past me and down the stairwell. I chase after him, hot on his heels.

“I’ll stab you with a knife if you keep coming,” he shouts at me.

Kristof wound up jumping the man in the lobby. ‘Thank god he did not have a gun,’ the reporter writes. Yes. Thank god for that. Also, the perpetrator appears to be an amateur-level thief. A pro would have been in, out and long gone from the hotel room before Kristof returned.

Photo of Franklin Hotel lobby via: marriott.com