When Motel 6 Called the Cops on a Dying Girl

Corporate gods and monsters. It’s their world, we just live in it.

Anastasia Basil
Human Parts
Published in
7 min readNov 30, 2018


Megan. Photo: Anastasia Basil

SSeven years ago, the Make-A-Wish foundation called my husband. They had a teenager, 16, with a terminal illness who dreamed of voicing cartoons. My husband, a long-time voice actor and coach, was baffled at first. Los Angeles is a bacchanalia of voice coaches; how did Make-A-Wish pick him out of a hat the size of the Colosseum?

Turns out the teenager was a big fan of voice actor William Salyers (voice of Rigby the Raccoon on The Regular Show) and my husband had produced the demo that helped launch his career. Make-a-Wish asked if Ed would consider donating a few lessons. The teenager suffered from cystic fibrosis, a lung disease, and was attached to oxygen via tank. Would that be a problem? Was this even doable?

What began as a few lessons bloomed into a year. Megan came to our house each week and my daughters rushed to greet her, my youngest fascinated by the tubes that ran to her nose. Voice acting requires breath control and this kid, despite her lungs, knocked it out of the park. She worked hard and landed a part on the animated series High School USA!. Megan’s health faltered shortly after. We didn’t know it then, but it was the beginning of a long, very long, stretch of hospital stays.

Last week, Motel 6 called the cops on Megan and her mom. They’d been living in the roadside motel after losing their home. I’m trying to tell this story without getting all “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” but, a few weeks prior, Megan received bad news: The medical and insurance overlords determined she was not a “good financial or medical client” for a lung transplant. Case closed. She was now on palliative care, the step before hospice.

Why did Motel 6 call the police on a dying girl?

Megan and her mom were moving to South Dakota. Call it a social media miracle. A woman, whose own daughter died at Megan’s age from Cystic Fibrosis, reached out and offered them a free room until they could afford a place on their own. A new start! Megan was over the moon.

On departure day, she and her mom went to the Motel 6 office to ask if they could check out a bit past noon, the standard checkout…