Anatomy of a March Break Bell Call.

HOOK’S NOTE: A glossary of terms is necessary for the uninitiated among you to enjoy this particular post and so I have included one. You’re welcome.

Bell Call:  This is what The Hook does to pay the bills. When a guest approaches/calls our Bell Desk requesting assistance we refer to the resulting transaction as a Bell Call.

Douchecopter:  Truthfully, this is self-explanatory, but here goes: a douchecopter is a guest who refuses to allow their actions to be guided by reason, civility or common sense. The vast majority of the guests I encounter are decent hard-working folk who treat hotel staff with the gratitude and respect they deserve. Unfortunately such individuals have no place on this blog as they are as boring as John Tesh after his nightly glass of warm milk.

Call Sheet:  The crumpled, coffee-stained piece of white 8×11 piece of paper upon which Bell Calls are scribbled hastily as yours truly is conversing with guests by phone or in person. The Call Sheet allows the Bell department to track the activities of its membership and is often valuable when covering one’s behind in the cases of discrepancies.

Front of the House:  The lobby, valet deck or any area containing the traveling public.

Back of the House:  If I have to explain this, you’re too far gone to understand it anyway. Go back to watching the Kardashians and their various lovers, you cheese-eating high schooler.

Lunch:  A rare occurrence during March Break, lunch allows a bellman to refuel between Bell Calls. Every bellman uses his lunch period to recharge in his own way; some have a smoke and a pancake (seriously), others actually eat (nothing healthy), and over the years others have been known to enjoy the affections of a housekeeper (or two), before hitting the Front of the House again.

Luggage Tag:  A cardboard tag, one end of which adheres to a luggage cart, while the other end is given to a guest. The end on the luggage cart allows a bellman to record where a cart is destined to end up. The guest’s end contains the Bell Desk extension number. Guests are instructed to use the number on the tag to retrieve their luggage. Any bellman worth is salt knows better than to allow a guest to walk away without this vital slip of cardboard. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

If only.

And now, on with our tale…

March 9, 3:o5 pm:  A guest arrives in Niagara Falls and parks his filthy mini-van on a very specific valet deck. His luggage is loaded onto a cart and taken away as he checks in.

3:35 pm:  The height of the check-in frenzy. A line of human suffering cattle stretched from the Front Desk to the elevators leading to our Mid-Tower suites, a fifty-foot span, at least.

The guest in question – a man mountain of a mammal complete with requisite thick black beard, stained New York state sweatshirt and attitude – approached the Bell Desk after waiting (impatiently, no doubt), to check in, as the sole bellman in attendance at that moment, the Bell Captain, was sprinting away to load yet another Bell Call.

Their exchange was short, yet heated on one side, as Man Mountain was seething with anger. Apparently his bags had been collected by a bellman and yet he hadn’t received a luggage tag. His room number didn’t appear on the Call Sheet either. Rather than search the Back of the House (specifically, our back storage room), Man Mountain left his useless room number and faded back into the crowd and the Bell Captain returned to his duties. The two would not meet again.

Of course, the tale does not end there.

3:40 pm:  The Hook, who had just returned from lunch (pizza, no housekeepers for this guy), was now the sole bellman at the desk as Man Mountain returned. I had been informed of the situation and had made several futile phone calls to his room in an attempt to ascertain an inventory of his missing luggage cart.

He had reached the middle of the huddled lobby when he launched a booming, explosive,  expletive-laced tirade at yours truly.

“WHERE THE FUCK IS THE FUCKIN’ MORON WHO TOOK MY FUCKING BAGS?  I CAN’T FUCKING  BELIEVE THIS PLACE!”

Despite my familiarity with his situation I was thrown off my game by this douchecopter’s palpable anger. He reached my desk and continued, robbing me of the opportunity to recover.

“I’VE GOT KIDS WAITING!  I’VE BEEN WAITING TWENTY MINUTES NOW FOR MY BAGS!  WHO THE FUCK IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS?”

Man Mountain began to vibrate with rage, much like Charlie Sheen at a porn star convention, affording me the chance to bid him to accompany me to the Back of the House in an effort to locate his luggage. He agreed but sadly, that didn’t quell his indignation.

“I’VE GOT KIDS, YOU KNOW?  WE’VE BEEN WAITING THIRTY MINUTES NOW!  WHAT THE FUCK?”

Apparently there was a localized disturbance in the space-time continuum field surrounding Man Mountain, as time was passing differently for him.

APPROXIMATELY FIVE SECONDS LATER:  Man Mountain identified his luggage – which had both slips of cardboard still attached. Upon reflection, I can only assume a valet driver assisted Man Mountain, as every bellman was otherwise occupied. Regardless of our discovery, he continued.

“THE ROOM NUMBER I GAVE YOU WAS WRONG!  WE’VE SWITCHED ROOMS AND I WANT MY BAGS DELIVERED TO THE NEW ROOM – NOW!”

At this point in our tale, I was simmering with rage – but below the surface. (Years of experience have paid off – Thank Dog!) I deliberately provided Man Mountain with incorrect directions to his new room (a classic stalling tactic employed by bellmen for ages), and set off in a blur to his temporary dwelling.

3:57 pm:  Despite my best efforts, he arrived just as the last bag softly landed on the floor.

And this is where we tumble down the rabbit hole, kids. My actions from this point forward were dictated by my reaction to Man Mountain’s incalculable hysterics and nothing more. 

Despite the depth of his madness, Man Mountain offered me a gratuity.

And I flatly refused.

No, your meds aren’t kicking in, you read that last line correctly.

I refused.

He protested, but I stood my ground, in the spirit of this guy…

What else is there to say, really? Not every man, bell or otherwise, can be bought.

See you in the lobby, folks…

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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72 Responses to Anatomy of a March Break Bell Call.

  1. Maybe you should have offered him a housekeeper or two to quell his anger. :D

  2. Paul says:

    You Go Hook! Tell that fat pig of a Mountain man to go fuck homself! I’m normally not violent, but I make exceptions from time to time. Good job – far better than I would have done (including keeping your job).

  3. Sorry you had to deal with all that, but good for you for standing your ground.

  4. 1jaded1 says:

    And this is why you are one of my favorites. You are grace under fire from douchecopters…I hope the rest of the week goes better.

  5. Ahh…the joys of the service industry. At least you have the calm, grace and sense of humor to deal with it. I cried uncle midway through college (different service industry, same douchecopters!) and changed my major. Love your stuff, Hook!

  6. girlseule says:

    What a carry on. That man is going to give himself a heart attack at this rate! First world problems hey.

  7. bardictale says:

    Ugh. People…good luck with the frenzy.

  8. With the impending storm of the day I fear for you Hook, being trapped in your hotel with all these crazies. They will all be screaming, “Where did the sun go? I’ve got kids, you know!”. Somehow this will be your fault as well. This guy was obviously one big douchecopter thinking he could treat you any way he desired as long as he dished out in the end. Good on you for refusing the cash and letting him know it was not OK to behave like that.

  9. Trent Lewin says:

    Ah Hook, really? Wrong directions to his room? That’s the best you could do? I’m just kidding. your patience must be legend-status. As Michele says above, stay unsnowed today, if possible. March Break just met hump day!

  10. For some things and situations in life, there is no price tag. And no amount of gratuity will ever make it up. I have witnessed what you experienced in many instances. I cringe every single time. I myself have lost it once coming in from a long flight of different time zones, and they could not locate my baggage. No excuse though. I may be exhausted and in dire need of a shower, but these folks do work hard every single day taking all kinds of crazy. RESPECT and SALUTE!

  11. There are times when you just gotta do whatcha gotta do! Refusing the tip was on principal…I get that. People are just ignorant. Sometimes when I encounter idiots I just think to myself whatever is going on with them has nothing to do with me. He is probably a hurting soul who is lashing out and you happen to be the one standing in his way. (positively not an excuse for his behavior) but may have been the reason. I’m sorry you have had to endure yet one more attack :-(
    Chin up…I will be thinkin ’bouthcha! ;-)

  12. katecrimmins says:

    Makes me wonder if he uses that language with his kids…..

  13. Eva says:

    I would have punched him in the dick.

  14. Goes to show you’re a bigger man than he. :-D :-D :-D

  15. djmatticus says:

    I’m more shocked that he offered a gratuity than you refused it…

  16. Actions speak louder than words. Well played, Sir Hook. Well played.

  17. And that is why I’m not in the service industry! Heck, I am not even allowed to attend meeting or talk to some clients, I don’t have your grace and composure! Well done Hook, well done!

  18. curvyroads says:

    I don’t know how you do it. Much respect to you, Hook!

  19. All I could think is how he’s yelling about having kids and then behaving like one or worse. What does that teach his kids?! I would have been tempted to say so. People can be so mean and no one deserves that type of treatment. :(

  20. kerbey says:

    The customer is sometimes wrong? At the first F bomb, I would have refused help, too.

  21. That’s the Hook we all know and respect! ;-)

  22. REDdog says:

    Good job, Hook, I wish I’d been there, I love tag teaming douchecopters, they’re a bit like sport when they get all grizzly bear like…until another grizzly wanders in haa! Oh the posts you would write if we were a team, Hooky. Respect man, REDdog

  23. thehobbler says:

    You’re awesome Hook!

  24. The Guat says:

    Duuuuuuuuude. I think I would have turned to violence…yeah…it would have been an Oxygen’s Snapped! type of encounter. What a fitting song. I love Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.

  25. stephrogers says:

    Hook! Much respect. I admit I would have backed down. But you are made of stronger stuff!

  26. Cameron says:

    Ah, Man Mountain the Douchecopter. Giving Americans Abroad a bad name since the beginning of Americans Abroad. And people wonder why I lied about being Canadian when I was in Europe.

  27. I know I’m late to the party here for comments. But, oh man. You’re the best. First, REALLY? you have kids and this is how you show them what a man acts like. And Second, you gave the wrong room number and you still can’t be civil and apologetic for your mistake. Oh, Hook, sometimes bellman seems so much worse than caregiving! Here’s to you on St. Paddy’s Day! Cause I KNOW I will be having a Guinness.

  28. Britt says:

    Lobby stories! Yay! And you are too busy to bask in our collective enjoyment of them. Hoping future tips are worth receiving and bigger than Mountain Man.

  29. Well done. The guy is a proper wanker

  30. BroadBlogs says:

    Love the runaround.

    And now that you mention it, what’s with this anyway?

    “Man Mountain began to vibrate with rage, much like Charlie Sheen at a porn star convention”

    True. Yet confusing.

  31. Chatty Owl says:

    See you in the lobby! Loved the “back of the house” haha!

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