Leela Periera had a serious telephone problem. But unlike most people she did something about it. The brand-new posh Shami Plaza Motel opened nearby and had acquired almost the same telephone number as Leela. From the moment the motel opened, Leela was besieged by calls not for her. Since she had the same phone number for years, she felt that she had a case to persuade the motel management to change its number. Naturally, the management refused claiming that it could not change its number. The phone company was not helpful, either. A number was a number, and just because a customer was getting someone else's calls 24 hours a day didn't make it responsible. After all her plea fell on deaf ears, Leela decided to take matters into her own hands.
At 9 o'clock the phone rang. Someone from Mumbai was calling the motel and asked for a room for the following Tuesday. Leela said, "No problem. How many nights?" .A few hours later she gave rooms for another three callers. A secretary of some CEO wanted a suite with two bedrooms for a week. Emboldened, Leela said the Presidential Suite on the 10th floor was available for Rs 9000 a night. The secretary said that she would take it and asked if the hotel wanted a deposit. "No, that won't be necessary," Leela said. "We trust you."
The next day was a busy one for Leela. In the morning, she booked an electric appliance manufacturers' convention , a liquor promotion night and a reunion of the REC veterans. She turned on her answering machine during lunchtime so that she could watch her favourite soap opera, but her biggest challenge came in the afternoon when a mother called to book the ballroom for her daughter's wedding in June. Leela assured the woman that it would be no problem and asked if she would be providing the flowers or did she want the hotel to take care of it. The mother said that she would prefer the hotel to handle the floral arrangements. Then the question of valet parking came up. Once again Leela was helpful. "There's no charge for valet parking, but we always recommend that the client tips the drivers."
Within a few weeks, the Motel was a disaster area. People kept showing up for weddings, promos, parties and were all told there were no such events.
Leela had her final revenge when she read in the local paper that the motel might go bankrupt. Her phone rang, and an executive from Le meridian said, "We're prepared to offer you Rs 20,000000 for the motel."
Leela replied. "We'll take it, but only if you change the telephone number."