So it was back to work for The Hook at 3 pm today, but first… it was time to change my oil.
I’m referring to the Hookmobile, of course. No euphemisms, the van actually needed its oil changed. Then it was time to leap right back into the fire. Unfortunately, there was no fire, no mindless mob of ignorant, impatient travelers to test my resolve against.
In short, the city morgue was busier than my humble place of business.
That’s not to say the day was completely uneventful.
Apparently a female guest picked up her bags from our storage room, commented on the fact one of her bags was no longer zipped up, claimed some gift cards were missing, and then promptly left the hotel – all in a matter of minutes! She was running late, but had the time to call back and alert our security department to her plight.
Of course, one of the cards was worth $600. This brings up an interesting facet of the modern traveler’s behaviour; whenever they lose something, it’s not simply a trivial item of moderate value, it’s the Hope Diamond! I’ve heard them all.
- “That paper bag contained thousands of dollars in jewellery!”
- “My $2,000 laptop was in that plastic shopping bag!”
- “My sainted Grandmother gave me that windbreaker jacket before she was slaughtered by ninjas!”
There are travelers out there who smell blood in the water when they think a hotel has misplaced one of their items. Said item instantly increases in monetary and sentimental value and so does the size of the problem management has to wrestle with.
At least I was on the sidelines for this one.
So I’m returning to my desk with a full load of “bus bags” when I encounter a business traveler with a bell cart. As you can well imagine, I was rightfully alarmed, but the gentlemen insisted someone from the Front Desk gave him the cart.
That didn’t do anything to reduce my growing anger.
I opted to let him go on his merry douche bag way rather than risk a trip to a manger’s office for beating him to death with his own briefcase. I had to assume his story was fabricated, as no one at the Front Desk would ever admit to handing over a cart to a guest. Besides, they deserve the benefit of the doubt, right?
I’m not completely heartless.
Still, I was seeing red for a short time, which is counter-productive when you’re serving the public. Fate has a way of dragging me back to earth in a split second, though, and that’s just what unfolded next. I noticed two housemen wearing custom wristbands that said, “I WEAR ORANGE FOR DEMI”. Turns out one of my colleagues has a daughter who has been stricken with leukemia.
She is six-years-old.
Just let the weight of that statement sink in for a moment.
Now I want you to remember just what you were doing at that age. Most of us weren’t undergoing treatment for a potentially fatal disease, that’s for sure. I’m not overly friendly with Demi’s father, but he remained foremost in my mind all day.
As a father myself, I know how I would react to the prospect of losing my child. I’d want to find a deep hole somewhere and envelop myself in eternal darkness. Warm rays of sunshine on my face would bring shame to my wounded soul. That having been said, I am still incapable of fully channelling my colleague’s state of mind at this moment. He will be allowed to spend time with his daughter at home for the weekend, and then she will be spending an indeterminate amount of time hospitalized, instead of running her parents ragged like kids her age are supposed to.
I spend a lot of time reading about comic book heroes and so I sometimes forget that a hero is also someone who reminds us of the extraordinary nature of the seemingly ordinary act of surviving. The story of Demi’s life thus far fills me with awe at the resilience of the human spirit and shame at my own petty nature.
It feels odd to return to form after pondering the nature of life, but my world doesn’t stop for anything, so neither can I.
FRANTIC FEMALE: I need to locate my husband, he’s meeting me at your parking lot that is directly outside your gift shop….
THE HOOK: We don’t have a parking lot that you can access from our gift shop, perhaps you’re thinking of another spot?
But she was certain. And so we went back and forth for a minute or so, before she snapped.
FF: (Slamming the Bell Desk with both hands!) I need to find my husband!
THE HOOK: Are you certain of that? Most wives I’ve encountered would welcome the break…
FF: (Laughing hysterically) I guess you’re right, I’ll just call him and get him to pick me up here. I think I’m mixed up anyway.
Truer words were never spoken, at least not today.