The Secret of the Aurora Avenue Travelodge

With more than 822,000 followers on Facebook and the ability to sell out state university auditoriums for presentations by its creator, the website PostSecret has a lot of fans. The Travelodge at 8512 Aurora Ave. N. is not among them.

Every week, PostSecret founder Frank Warren receives about 1,000 postcards from around the world printed with secrets ranging from humorous ("Every time I go to the zoo, I just think about how each animal would taste") to heartbreaking ("My greatest regret is that I didn't have the guts to kill him when he asked me"). He then posts about 20 on his site for viewers to peruse.

Last Sunday, Warren posted a "Greetings From Seattle" card on which someone had written, "We left a secret under the nightstand in room #302 of the Travelodge on the corner of 85th and Aurora... We hope you find it and feel the same." Cue an onslaught of calls from PostSecret obsessives, says front desk worker Christie.

In the face of such rabid public interest, some establishments would ham it up, hike their rates, and maybe introduce a Commemorative PostSecret Package. But the Travelodge has been turning callers away, Christie says. "They were just asking what the secret was," she says. "It was just stupid."

The Travelodge's manager greeted a question about the hubbub with a weary sigh. "The postcard case?" she asks. "Somebody made a joke. We searched the room, but--nothing." She described the stream of calls as "annoying," then declined to give her name and hung up.

So the secret of Room 302 remains buried, while the Aurora Travelodge is all too exposed, at least in its employees' view. But take heart, frustrated sleuths and staff: at least you aren't the author of this card.

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