We were chatting with the desk clerk at Fouquet's Hotel in Cannes when three young women came back from a day's sunbathing on the nearby Croisette beach. Although most modern hotels here today use key cards, some older ones still provide keys, which are to be left at the desk. The keys are often large and ornate, to better encourage that practice.
The desk clerk asked, in French, which room they were in. Seeing blank stares, she asked again in English. Getting the same response, she started displaying fingers: one, two, three... It's a small hotel, so there was no danger she would have to start on her toes, but she soon realized that the problem was they didn't remember their room number. So she asked their names, but found none in the register that matched.
So she showed them the register, but they didn't recognize any of those names either! Things were getting curiouser and curiouser. Then one of the women handed the clerk her cell phone, and whether it was a phone number, a name, or even a picture, the clerk produced the proper key, and they retired to their room.
It would have been interesting to know the circumstances of that situation.
We stayed in Fouquet's for five days, and by the end had become quite friendly with the desk clerk, so we asked her about the event. When we mentioned the "one, two, three," she recalled the women, and even that they were in room nine. However, when we asked what the cell phone revealed, her memory suddenly became cloudy, and she didn't know what we were talking about!