“Boy, That Was Quick!”

And yes, that is what she said.

And it’s also what you’re going top be thinking after reading this one, friends. Incidentally, assuming I’ve done my job correctly, you’ll also be thinking:

“Well, at least that was so hilarious my coffee shot out my nose! The Hook owes me a new laptop – again!”

This post was born from the human catastrophe known as Passover, one of the Jewish religion’s most sacred and widely observed holidays. However, you’d never guess it if you stood in the lobby with me and observed – with wide eyes – the carnage and madness that comes about when you put hundreds of Jewish families together in one hotel. One thousand rooms spread across three towers is not enough to contain thousands of Jews filled with religious fervor. 

And no, I’m not being anti-Semitic, I’m simply stating an all-too real, sobering fact of a bellman’s life. I love Jewish folk; most are hard-working, ridiculously-decent, family-minded folk who walk around with a beaming smile on their faces.

But there are those among them who transform Passover from a sacred holiday to a traveling circus. When I deal with these folks, Passover is madness incarnate. They switch Passover into Murphy’s Law incarnate.

On the other hand, thanks to these individuals, Passover is a great opportunity for me to… well, be me, simply put.

The Set-up: A lobby full of guests of every variety – and hundreds of Jewish families. Oh, and a million screaming children, their voices merged into one seemingly-never-ending war cry. The phone at the Bell Desk is ringing – as it has for an hour straight. A guest approaches me to retrieve his luggage. At that exact moment, despite seeing me obviously overwhelmed, a young Jewish mother walks up to my desk, baby stroller full of boxes of food in tow (I kid you not!), glances at the weather report we leave out for guests and asks me,

“You know what the weather is going to be tomorrow?”

My next course of action was obvious. I would’ve been a fool to let this moment pass me by. With a tone that was as straight as Charlie Sheen at a Vegas porno convention, I answered her.

“Sandstorm. With a chance of locusts, miss.”

In retrospect… I had no choice, really.

My guest (a Gentile) simply broke into raucous laughter and walked away, knowing I was going to meet him at his room anyway. Where, by the way, he tipped me extra for the biggest laugh of his life. The Jewish mom simply stared at me. It was obvious I was going to have to do a little damage control – but I was more than cool with that.

“You see, miss, the weather report is right there… though to be honest, I pay little attention to it. The weather can change in an instant… so the best thing to do is wake up, step over your kids, navigate your way around all the boxes of food you’ve brought with you and simply look out the window.  That weather report will never lie to you, miss.”

She remained both motionless and emotionless. But I was still  overwhelmed so I headed out and left her standing there to ponder her first encounter with The Hook, world’s most outspoken bellman.

And no, I wasn’t called down to HR, so once again, it’s all good.

See you in the lobby, kids…

passover-usa

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No, I Haven’t Been Fired Yet.

Anyone with even a passing familiarity with my “work” will agree that, while I’m wearing a bellman’s uniform at least, I’m a pretty outspoken guy.

To say the least.

Well, trust me, the best/worst is yet to come.

In fact, just the other day I set a new benchmark for myself in smartassery. I was delivering luggage to a nice older couple (they said Jesus was a nice young man – for a hippie) who were not impressed with the room.

To say the least.

You see, several months ago Upper Management decided to increase our room count by taking several double-room suites and re-configuring them into two single suites. The resulting rooms are fine for a lone traveler or a couple who only plan on using the bed in the room for carnal activities – and nothing more. However, when couples find themselves in these rooms, their reaction is not pretty.

The wife was quiet but fuming. The husband was just fuming.

“This is how they treat old people? I’m pissed!”

And when I suggested he call the Front Desk or pay them a visit to discuss the matter…

“I can’t do that… I have a bad temper! I’ll start out fine… but then I’ll get so mad I’ll probably kill someone!”

His wife just sat there quietly nodding her head in agreement, as if remembering a past altercation that had a similar result. Now, most bellmen would decide the prudent thing to do would be to let the guest stew in their own juices, rather than risking making the situation worse.

But I’m not most bellmen.

So, of course, you just know I couldn’t let this one go, right? Rather than direct the guest to a manager, I decided to let my unique customer service skills take over. Sometimes you just have to play the hand you’re dealt and let the chips fall where they may. And so I did just that.

And I have to say, this might be my masterpiece.

“Just imagine, sir… if you do go to the Front Desk, snap out and actually kill someone… the cell you’d wind up in would be bigger than this room.”

As always, I’ll give you a moment to process the depth of my smartassery.

hqdefault“Were we satisfied without stay?  Let me tell you a thing or two about that pirate bellman you employ!”

All done? Good.

After the couple took a few moments to accept the fact they were dealing with the world’s most smartass bellman, they broke into raucous laughter. Which, for seniors, can be fatal. I am happy to report, however, that they both survived “being hooked” and lived to be old another day.

And I’m still a smartass.

So all is good in the world.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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Silent Sunday: Pet Shaming Done Right.

Well, friends, another week has burned away into ash, to be scattered across the sands of time.

Yes, I am a upbeat devil, thank you for noticing.

Passover hit Niagara Falls like a Sharknado times ten this year. I love the Jewish folk, but when you put thousands of them together in one hotel… you’re asking for a helluva non-alcoholic hangover the next day. Honestly, Passover hit me like a wrecking – wait, I can’t use a Miley Cyrus reference; I don’t hate myself quite that much.

At any rate, it’s Sunday so here’s a pic of Chelsea in all her “glory”.

The poor dog…

20160304_162502See you in the lobby, kids…

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More Fun On The Phone With The Hook.

Once again, I’ve decided to inspire a collective question among my readership.

And not just, “Why the hell are we reading this blog? After all, there are literally a billion cat videos on YouTube, and there’s still some paint drying on the kitchen walls…”

No, today we’re going to revisit the question, “How the hell does The Hook get away with this stuff?” To be clear, I don’t have any answers but if I do my job correctly, you won’t care. As I often say to the wife, the content may not be the greatest, but the payoff will be more than worth it.

This brings us to a typical Saturday during the so-called Niagara Falls off-season. The phone at the Bell Desk rang and I decided to have some fun while being a smartass bellman. You know, for a change of pace…

ME:  Bell Desk, Robert speaking. How may I help you?

Gripping stuff so far, right?

GUEST:  Can I have a cart but no bellman?

ME:  I’m afraid not, sir.

GUEST:  Why the hell not?

ME:  Because we don’t like you, sir.

GUEST:  Say what? But… but… you don’t even know me!

ME:  We’ve heard things…

I swear, you could feel his apprehension over the Canadian phone line…

To clarify, I recognized the gentleman as a father of eight (!) that had checked in a few nights earlier. I had served them all and they seemed cool. Of course, I was still gambling with my job, but I’m certainly used to it.

I arrived at the room a few minutes later.

The gentleman answered the door.

Still gripping stuff, right? John le Carré has nothing on me.

GUEST:  Are you the same guy who answered the phone?

ME:  Guilty as charged, sir. And we still don’t like you.

He stood motiveless for what seemed like forever. (I really need to start carrying a watch.)

Then he started laughing so hard I was going to call Security to his room with a portable defibrillator.

In the end, he was amused. I was tipped. The world kept on revolving. The game continued.

As I said, I don’t specifically know just how I’ve manged to last in the hospitality game so long except to say I’ve learned how to pick my battles perfectly. Something as simple as the tone of a guest’s voice can be the key to deciding whether or not to let my smartass side take point. Here’s hoping my skills don’t diminish with time.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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The Hook’s Guide To Parenting: What Not To Do.

Parents, for almost two decades I’ve been watching you and your kids.

Yes, that is officially the creepiest sentence I have ever typed. With the possible exception of, “About last night… you were sleeping so soundly, I felt it best not to wake you… but don’t worry, I cleaned up after myself.”

Whoa. I even creeped myself out with that one. Time to move on, I’d say.

Today’s message is simple: I’m about to give parents a few simple guidelines that even a Kardashian could implement. Executed properly, these tips should resurrect a vacation that would otherwise be dead on arrival.

Or so I’m guessing. To be clear, there is no actual guarantee with my advice. 

ONE)  Stop bringing cookies, bread without butter, and every form of junk food known to man with you on vacation.  You may think you’re being economical and saving money, but you’re not – not by a long shot.

Just think of the future cost of having a morbidly-obese child. Do you think it’s worth it to buy bags of crap for your clan if they wind up having to have a wall taken down just so they can leave their beds? Seriously, progenitors, no matter how much you may hate it, the fact is, you’re going to have to spend money on actual food while traveling.

And by “actual food”, I mean healthy food. The life you’ll be saving will be your kin’s.

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TWO)  Giving your young children Red Bull first thing in the morning – or at all – is wrong. Stop doing it.  I shouldn’t have to keep saying this, but here goes… Red Bull really isn’t the greatest beverage for a human of any age (or an animal, for that matter), but it definitely isn’t an appropriate chaser for a well-balanced breakfast.

I can’t help but shudder every time I see a rug rat bouncing off the walls of the lobby (sometimes literally) as they grip a can of Red Bull tightly. Our hearts are delicate instruments that need time to grow and strengthen through childhood. Overtaxing your child’s immature ticker with energy drinks is an act of cruelty, parents.

Again, stop doing it.

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THREE)  Having sex with your spouse while on vacation with your kids is no easy feat, so consider it carefully.  Why do so many parents go into it blind? I hear comments like this all the time:

“Mommy and Daddy had to take a shower together because Daddy said Mommy is a ‘dirty bitch who needs a good spanking!'”

“Mommy said we had to go to Grandpa and Grandma’s room so her new boyfriend could change her oil!”

“We could hear our parents having ‘secs’ last night!  Daddy started crying after!”

“Mommy and Daddy pretended to be our dogs last night when we were supposed to be sleeping!”

I can certainly understand – and applaud – parents who have managed to maintain an active, healthy sex life, but having relations while your offspring is in the same room, or worse, the next bed, is one million types of wrong. (I’ve done the math.) So fornicate smarter not harder, folks. 

If you can’t arrange a room with a separate sleeping quarters – with a door – for the kids? Don’t have sex.

If you know they may be listening (and will be unattended) at the door while you engage in shower sex? Don’t have sex.

If you’re not traveling with other couples who can take turns watching your kids while you make the Beast With Two Backs? Don’t have sex.

Yes, I realize “Don’t have sex” is like saying “Don’t breathe”, especially when you really want a big lungful of “air”, but you don’t want to scar your kids, do you? Okay, so right now some of you are saying,

“Screw ’em, they’ll be fine! I need to get my rocks off after shilling out thousands for a vacation in Niagara Falls!”

Trust me, I’ve been there. In fact, my drive revs higher now than when I was a teenager. But you need to show some restraint. (Using that word didn’t help, did it?) Being a parent requires sacrifice, temporarily, but you can do it. Childhood is wild enough these days, don’t make it even ickier.

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FOUR)  Put the devices away!  Yes, even yours, parents. I know I say this a lot, but anyone who has ever spent more than a few minutes in a hotel lobby can attest to this statement’s importance. Every day I see hundreds of people with their faces glued to their phones and tablets while their friends and family do the same.

They look disconnected from the world.

They look lonely among us.

They look like idiots who have no idea what they’re missing.

Don’t be a tech-addicted idiot while traveling with your kids, parents.

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FIVE)  When I deliver your bags, don’t send your kids to the door – sans tip – while you hide in the far end of the room.  Not only is it cowardly, – stiff me to my face – it’s just plain reckless. You don’t know me; why are you leaving your kids in a room with me?

And yes, “stiff me to my face” is what she said, thank you very much.

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SIX)  Never let your kids play sports in the hallways.  Hockey parents are the worst offenders. Too many of them let their spawn run amok in the lobby, elevators, hallways and anywhere I happen to be.

This is not cool.

People have paid good money for their rooms, folks. Let them be, won’t you?

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SEVEN)  Don’t use your newborn’s stroller as a luggage cart.  Sure, you’ve saved yourself a few dollars in tip money – but you look like a complete and total douche. Put your baby where it belongs and use a cart, you moron!

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EIGHT)  Never let your kids run around like Tasmanian devils on the Valet Deck.  They’ll get hit by another neglectful parent in a mini-van and suddenly, you’ll be “Parent of the Year”, screaming and wailing like a maniac over the fate of you beloved child – who you didn’t care about moments earlier. I’ve seen it happen more than once.

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NINE)  Keep an eye on your kids inside the hotel as well.  We’ve never had a child disappear for more than a moment or two at the hotel, and even then, it was usually because they got on an elevator before their guardians/parental units did.

But there’s a first time for everything.

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TEN)  Talk to your kids!  This is going to be difficult for many parents to grasp but…

Your kids are real, not-quite-formed human beings with thoughts, opinions and even feelings.

Yes, the same mind that thinks it’s okay to put the cat in the microwave to dry it off after putting it in the washer actually has real emotions and opinions. Amazing, isn’t it?

The sad truth is, shift work, the disintegration of the Nuclear Family and a general lack of consideration for the role of  a devoted parent in a child’s life have given us a society overrun with Kardashian clones. I get it. I realize how tough it is to get through to the modern-day teen. They’re so busy obsessing over, well… everything, that it feels like you’ll never be able to tune your messages to their wavelength.

But guess what? That’s what parents have been saying since the beginning of humanity. Every generation feels the one that follows is a mystery they’ll never be able to solve.

But giving up isn’t the answer.

Your kids deserve better.

So talk to them.

About anything at first, and then the really big issues.

This has been, “I’m A Better Parent Than You: With Robert Hookey”.

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See you in the lobby, parents…

 

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Things You Should Never Say To A Niagara Falls Hooker.

Certain marketing geniuses have tried – rather unsuccessfully, it should be noted – to market Niagara Falls as a”Little Vegas” in the past.

While my hometown has two casinos, it is no Las Vegas – by any means. And by the way, that’s a good thing; the delicate balance of the Universe would be upset by more than one Sin City. However, there is one common link between Niagara Falls, Vegas and most big cities, for that matter.

That’s right, kids, hookers. All big cities have horny people in them. Some are residents while others are just visitors who can’t keep it in their pants until they get home. Many of these individuals, seemingly-immune to the charms of internet pornography, are bold enough to seek sexual satisfaction in the arms – and orifices – of individuals who don’t mind letting strangers jump up and down on them for money.

It’s the world’s oldest profession so apparently it serves society pretty well. And while I realize every hooker was once someone’s little girl, I feel no shame writing a post like this one. The world needs to laugh at itself, my friends. If it doesn’t, society will crack like a an egg.

In my eighteen years as a bellman I’ve grown accustomed to ladies of the evening (though, as longtime readers know, I prefer to call a spade a spade) and most importantly, I’ve learned what not to say to said ladies. This is an invaluable trick to master; “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” is nothing compared to an enraged hooker. They’ll cut you, man.

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This whole thing could have been avoided had Tom Roth read my blog.

So without further adieu, here are some sentences that should never escape your lips whilst conversing with a hooker.

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SUPER-BUBBLY HOOKER:  I’m Candy!

ME:  Of course you are.

Yes, I stole that comeback from the motion picture Highlander. But to be honest, I’ve been waiting my entire adult life to be in a position to legitimately use that line with an actual call girl. And yes, it was totally worth it. But you should never follow my example, kids. Not everyone is cut out to play in my league.

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 “Wow, you look pretty young to be an escort… you sure you don’t still have training wheels on your lady parts?”

No, I didn’t use that line. It came from a Bostonian goofball who was traveling with a dozen of his buddies. They were waiting for an elevator when the young lady crossed their path. I happened to be walking by when the “gentleman” lowered the bar in a most spectacular fashion.

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“You don’t take Canadian Tire money, do you?”

1297604431273_ORIGINALIf you’re not Canadian… you’re lost right now. My apologies. But if you are, you’re losing it at this moment.

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“Is it more if my husband watches? He’ll be real quiet! He can even stay in the closet if it makes you feel better!”

Trust me, hookers do not care for surprises. They may be in a business that is all about discretion, but they like to know everything about the situation they’re about to walk into. At least, the smart ones do.

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“Do you think your parents are proud of the work you’re doing? I mean, I assume you went to university.. for I don’t know, French literature or something like that? Is it paying off”

“Do you have like, a rewards card, or something? Maybe something like a ‘frequent flyer’ program?”

“So, is this a family business?”

“I bet you see a lot of ceilings and pillow cases in your line of work, right?”

“So what’s the ultimate goal? To be a porn star like Jenna Jameson?”

“Weren’t we in Sunday School together?”

“Do you do that thing where you lay naked on a table and people eat off you? Because there’s a guy at the plant who will be retiring soon and…”

And on that ultra-classy note, I’m going to wrap this mutha up with the usual parting line.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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Silent Sunday: Beware The Eye Of Sauron… I Mean Hickson.

I’ve had a bizarre week on social media.

Even for me.

Without going into mind-numbing detail, this week I was:

  •  Convinced to censor myself on Twitter.
  •  Ashamed that I was foolish enough to let another writer convince me to censor myself.
  •  Blocked by the same writer after I did as he requested.
  •  Saddened by Prince’s passing. I was never a huge fan, but he was a true original. I always liked that.
  •  Forced to acknowledge that I’ll never be one of the “cool kid” bloggers who share their Disney adventures on Twitter.
  •  Shocked to discover I had been blocked by the chick from Knocked Up. Until then, I had never written anything about the chick from Knocked Up!
  •  Flabbergasted by social media in general.

So I guess this isn’t a “Silent Sunday” after all…

At any rate, I have nothing for you today. My creative drive has been mugged and left for dead in a virtual alley just off of Twitter’s main drag. But here’s a ginormous shot of Ned Hickson to tide you over until next week.

But I must caution you: staring into Ned’s virtual eyes – and his ‘stache – is a slippery slope. When you stare in to the abyss… Ned Hickson stares back.

Ned_Hickson

Good thing Ned has a sense of humor – such as it is – right?

See you in the lobby, kids…

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