Josie Bowers is a 19-year-old student from Ontario who went mega-viral on TikTok for sharing her story of how she evaded two men who attempted to break into her hotel room while she was on vacation with her family when she was just 15 years old.
In the video, Josie duets another TikTok that shows a wire device being used to slide under a door and open it from the inside. She told BuzzFeed she came across the device when she was alone in a Hilton hotel room and about to get into the shower.
The video currently has over 12 million views on TikTok.
"I quickly wrapped a towel around myself and went into the living room to see what [the noise] was. What I saw was very similar to the device shown in my TikTok. I quickly realized that this contraption was being used to open my hotel room door from the inside, and launched forward to slam the door shut as it started to open a crack," Josie told BuzzFeed.
Once the door was closed, Josie heard two men chatting before one of them called out to her that they were there for "room maintenance" to "fix her door." Josie told BuzzFeed that she opened the door a crack to get a quick look at the men, and immediately realized they weren't Hilton staff members.
"My main thought was that I was only in my towel, and I didn't have time to get dressed. My other thought was, do these men have weapons? If I stop them, are they going to try and hurt me or use force? I didn't want to be aggressive in questioning them, because I was unsure of how they would react. I was very young and confused by the situation. I didn't want to refuse them access to the room and create a scene if they were there to do a job. It was embarrassing to think they were potentially workers that I had locked out. This is why I opened the door a crack. I was afraid to be rude to people who announced themselves as employees."
Luckily, Josie listened to her gut and remembered that her stepdad — a police officer — advised her to never let intruders know you're alone: "I pretended to call out to my dad by saying, 'Dad, there are people here to fix the door.' I'm guessing once these men realized I was not alone and they might potentially come face-to-face with my father, they bolted."
Josie told BuzzFeed that she never intended to share her story on the internet, but once she saw the device pop up on her FYP, she felt compelled to let others know. "I thought hopefully some people could learn from it. I could never fully explain what happened to me properly, but having this demonstration to show my family has really made them more understanding of what went down that day."
But of course, because the internet is the internet, plenty of people have jumped in to accuse Josie of lying and to ask why she didn't act differently in the situation. To which Josie responded: "I've been in contact with Hilton and they are currently reviewing my stay and the service report that was made that day. I'm not fazed by the people who call me a liar, because I'm just happy I can share my experience and connect with others. It's not that crazy of a story. It's actually a very simple version of breaking and entering, and something that's common in hotels."
"I think it just goes to show that even in places that are supposed to be secure, such as hotels, there are always situations that can occur and jeopardize your safety, which you'd never even think about. I think it's important as a woman to never travel alone and to consider investing in special devices that prevent things like this from happening."
"Always lock the deadbolt if everyone is in your room, invest in safety devices such as extra locks, and never travel alone, especially when you do not have cellphone service."
In the end, despite everything she went through, Josie is glad she's now able to help others. "I am happy in the long run that I went through this experience, so that I could share it with 10 million people and perhaps save someone's life, or make someone aware of a threat they never would've considered before seeing my video."
For more details on Josie's experience, you can follow her on TikTok.
Share This Article
Sign Up For The Bring Me! Newsletter!
The latest travel tips, off-the-beaten-path experiences, and inspiration delivered to your inbox.