Confronting a False Positive

April 27, 2009
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I received a request to explain false positive matches; perhaps this tale based on my brother’s experiences will help.

Imagine that your name is Chris Tuck, and you’re attending an industry event in Bristol. You booked your hotel directly using the conference code (in order to get it at a discounted rate) and when you arrive after a long day all you want to do is dump your bags in your room and get some dinner.

Everything goes smoothly at check-in, they find you reservation, swipe your credit card and issue you with a room key. So up in the lift you go and along the corridor until you find your room.

As you enter the room, you notice nothing unusual – it’s a typical business hotel; you could be anywhere. The lights and TV have been switched on to welcome you. You squeeze down the corridor past the bathroom, letting the door slam shut behind you, and dump your bags on the bed.

Then something catches your eye. There’s another bag on the floor by the side of the bed – that’s odd. Then you hear something. You turnaround to find yourself face-to-face with a giant, wearing nothing but a towel around his waist – that’s very odd!

He’s 6′ 7″  inches tall (over 2M) and weighs about 250lbs (

I received a request to explain false positive matches; perhaps this tale based on my brother’s experiences will help.

Imagine that your name is Chris Tuck, and you’re attending an industry event in Bristol. You booked your hotel directly using the conference code (in order to get it at a discounted rate) and when you arrive after a long day all you want to do is dump your bags in your room and get some dinner.

Everything goes smoothly at check-in, they find you reservation, swipe your credit card and issue you with a room key. So up in the lift you go and along the corridor until you find your room.

As you enter the room, you notice nothing unusual – it’s a typical business hotel; you could be anywhere. The lights and TV have been switched on to welcome you. You squeeze down the corridor past the bathroom, letting the door slam shut behind you, and dump your bags on the bed.

Then something catches your eye. There’s another bag on the floor by the side of the bed – that’s odd. Then you hear something. You turnaround to find yourself face-to-face with a giant, wearing nothing but a towel around his waist – that’s very odd!

He’s 6′ 7″  inches tall (over 2M) and weighs about 250lbs (nearly 18 stone, or 11oKg) although he looks bigger as he towers over you in his near-naked state with his shaven head. His face is contorted in a frown. ”What are you doing in my room?” you exclaim, in unison.

Now imagine things from my brother’s point of view. You’re name is also Chris Tuck and you’re just getting out of the shower in your hotel room when you hear a door slam. You exit the bathroom to find another man standing next to your bed.

Both Chris Tucks were attending the same event and had booked their rooms independently using the conference discount code. Unfortunately, despite them having different credit card details, company names and addresses , somebody at the hotel had decided that the bookings must be for the same person – this is a false positive match.

In this case it caused much embarrassment for all parties concerned, particularly when it turned out that the hotel was fully booked and the “other” Chris Tuck had to find somewhere else to stay. He and my brother have met and shared a laugh about this mishap on several occasions since, although both are now extra careful when checking into hotels, making sure that their doors are deadlocked and using the do-no-disturb sign!