A TRAVEL TIP FROM THE HOOK.
Always remember to remain focused when traveling; pay particular attention to those things that mean the most to you. For example, your laptop, phone and perhaps your children?
Here’s the scene: I returned to my desk from a call only to discover three dirty, scrappy urchins, straight out of a modern-day version of Oliver Twist, rooting through the luggage tags. There was no parental figures in sight – at least none that would lay claim to the little maniacs – and their belongings were piled onto an umbrella stroller that was in imminent danger of tipping over.
At my presence, they scattered like startled raccoons and began racing around the crowded lobby – it was the height of check-out time – like they had just been fed a mixture of Red Bull and Jack Daniels!
Seriously, it resembled a scene from the Old West; just picture the cowboys shootin’ guns, their horses jumpin’ back on two legs and LOTS of hollerin’! There were three of them; two blonde twins (Seven or eight at the most.) and a little guy that was barely a day over five.
But wait! There’s More!
- The youngest whipped his sippy cup; barely missing a bewildered white-haired old lady while his maniacal siblings ran off for parts unknown.
- The group ran in and out of the lobby onto a valet deck overrun with vehicles, screaming the entire time, of course.
- After repeated attempts to corral the trio, I simply let them run wild. Finally, a woman with a concerned look on her face appeared and scooped up the youngest boy. Unfortunately, she was merely a concerned mother, not his concerned mother!
- The elder boys returned intermittently to wreak havoc; they tossed a bulging laundry bag back and forth until it burst, spraying dirty clothes around the lobby. Fortunately, they whipped the clothes back onto the stroller before resuming their rampage.
Against my better judgment, I retrieved the little guy and Fate intervened; Mommy Dearest returned! As luck would have it, her return did not bode that well for anyone…
- She was, as the kids say, a “hot mess”!
- Long blonde hair, teased and dyed to excess.
- Tighter than tight, ripped jeans and a half-top that barely contained a bosom that had seen better days, served as distractions from her wild sunglasses and crazy make-up.
- She could have completed the ensemble with knee pads, a bottle of mouthwash strapped to her side and a change maker hitched to her belt!
Turns out “mother-of-the-year’ had assumed the doorman would watch the terrible trio while she retrieved the car from the garage. She returned to a scene of total chaos, but her only real concern was for the iPhone she had left at my desk!
It still amazes me that she could afford an iPhone, but not a few condoms…
MY FIRST PRINT INTERVIEW!
This ran in Niagara This Week on Friday, August 18.
This bellman’s seen it all..
Niagara Falls bellman chronicles his memorable encounters.
They get called every name in the book — “The Guys with The Carts, Cart Jockeys, Bag Monkeys. They’re seen at most hotels, pushing that “Rolly Thingy.”
They are, in short, Bellmen.It’s a job Robert Hookey has held for going on 15 years at a pair of Niagara Falls Hotels and he’s seen plenty. And he’s collected some of those experiences to form his first book, the self-published The Bellman Chronicles: Shining a Light on Mankind’s Missteps from the Trenches.
“I started the You’ve been Hooked blog two years ago,” Hookey said. “Then the Book of Terrible. You know the Book of Awesome, right? Well… .”
The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha is based on his website 1000awesomethings.com, an ongoing listing of things declared to be “awesome”, such as Tuesday’s entry, “No. 978, putting toppings on a hotdog bun before the hotdog.”
Hookey takes a just as humourous and whimsical approach, documenting some of the things he’s seen over the years.
“They’re all true stories,” Hookey said. “They’re just encounters.
“Like the dead deer strapped to a vehicle which wound up being parked next to the (restaurant). Another guy brought deer antlers up to his room.”
He said there’s also a story of a couple who were seen on a hotel security camera doing what couples sometimes do without clothing on.
“It was a bank conference,” Hookey said.” The couple were seen doing it on the folding table in the laundry room.”
But the male half of the couple was later exposed “in the flesh” as it were.
“He somehow had been locked out of his room,” Hookey said. “I don’t know how his partner was able to get back but he had to come to the front desk to get a new key.”
Then there’s the hookers.
“You used to see them only at night but now you see them a lot during the day,” Hookey said. “You can tell, they’re always looking around, they’ll ask, ‘Where’s this room?’ or ‘Where’s this floor?’ ”
And although the majority of folks he encounters are nice people, Hookey said that wouldn’t make for good reading.
“If everyone was pretty nice, that would make it quite boring.”
But then again, not everyone is like that, he said.
“People can be miserable, angry, cranky and cheap. They are the ones who stand out.”
Anecdotes such as these make up the majority of The Bellman Chronicles 283 pages, Hookey has also dedicated pages to his “terrible things” such as “When the Maid of Honour is hotter than the Bride” or “Those Dramatic Pauses During Reality Shows.”
Hookey said it took about four or five months to bring the material together for the book, which he self-published through CreativeSpace, an arm of Amazon..
“I tried to keep it as cost effective as possible,” Hookey said.
Currently, the book is available online at Amazon and at Pulp Comics, 4413 Queen St. Prices are $14.99 for soft cover and $4.99 for a Kindle edition.
“It’s going to be a marathon, not a sprint,” Hookey said, smiling, of potential sales for his work. “Not a 50 Shades of Grey type of success.”
It’s a start, right? Here are a few details about the publication in which I made my debut…
NiagaraThisWeek.com provides content from our Niagara region publications – Fort Erie Post, Grimsby Lincoln News, Niagara This Week, Niagara-On-The-Lake Town Crier, and Port Colborne Leader. With 165,000 copies printed each week, Metroland’s newest publication has the largest press run of any community newspaper in Canada.
AND NOW… SOME FREE SWAG!!!
Mark your cyber-calendars, folks…. My first free giveaway of The Bellman Chronicles runs September 10 – 11! As part of Amazon’s KDP Select program, I get a five-day window to share my work with the world for the low, low price of absolutely nothin’!
- The Bellman Chronicles Goes “Live” – At Last! (youvebeenhooked.wordpress.com)