A Tale Of Two Calls.


  • He had a watch that didn’t come from a case of beer.
  • His car wasn’t a standard issue domestic unit mini-van or a middle-class SUV advertised in commercials featuring shiny, happy people cruising leisurely down sun drenched country roads.
  • The tailored suit covering his form was immaculate.
  • As one would expect, he brought along the stereotypical ultra-high-maintenance wife who appeared to have just lost her last baby tooth and who couldn’t stop rolling her eyes. Seriously,  I thought she was having a seizure…

He was living the dream – and he was miserable. Or so it appeared. Granted, I can only draw conclusions from the few minutes that Fate allows me to spend with these people, but he didn’t look like a happy guy; waves of anger and resentment poured off him like sweat off a fat guy trying to climb stairs while carrying a bucket of chicken.


  • He wasn’t wearing a watch, but his ball cap definitely came from a case of Bud.
  • The trunk of his LTD was held down with a length of rope. I kid you not.
  • A weathered Led Zeppelin t-shirt – a bold choice for a man in his fifties –  jeans and cowboy boots comprised his vacation attire.
  • His wife was a lady of advanced years (heck, compared to #1’s wife, she was ancient!), but salt of the earth values, as evidenced by her eagerness to mingle with valet and bell staff while her “pookie bear’ unloaded the White Trash Mobile. Seriously, she referred to their car as the White Trash Mobile.

Two men, both in the same place at the same time. Both cut from the same ultra-white cloth – although one of them had a neck as red as Alabama clay – and traveling with their significant others. 

Two men whom one can safely assume traveled in different circles, yet found themselves at the same fork in the road in terms of a single choice. That choice? How to treat the bellman.

Seems simple, I know, but nothing could be more complicated. Our behavior towards others is reflective of our mood at that moment in time. If you’re having a bad day you may dismiss the bellman with a look of haughty derision and no gratuity and falsely assume the matter will end there.

However, and trust me on this, you may have actually lit the fuse that unleashes a powder keg of revenge directed squarely at you and only you. I don’t indulge in revenge against guests – it simply devalues one’s soul – but between my tours of duty at two hotels over fifteen years I’ve seen many acts of revenge carried out by bitter bellmen.

Here are but five.

DISCLAIMER: (And this is directed solely at any representatives of the hotels’ HR department that may be reading this) Each of the acts of revenge you are about to read of was carried out by an individual who is no longer a working bellman.

  1. I’ve seen toothbrushes dipped in toilet water, paint thinner and bodily fluid.
  2. Trunks/back doors can be closed just enough to hold until a vehicle leaves the property – and then they spring open, depositing their contents all over the Niagara roadways.
  3. It is a simple matter to switch the power off in certain rooms, plunging an unsuspecting guest into darkness at the most inopportune time.
  4. They say never mess with the people who prepare your food; well those same individuals are often tight with the bell staff. You do the math…

And finally,  this one will knock your socks off but I swear it’s true: once upon a time, while consumed by rage, a bellman seduced a guest’s wife and had angry sex with said spouse – on the hood of the guest’s car, no less – while a colleague hid in the bushes and took photographs which were later mailed to the guest upon his return home.

Yes, this occurred before the dawn of the digital age. An old-time camera was used and snail mail was the only game in town. And since I know you’re wondering, both employees were terminated with extreme prejudice, but at least they had one hell of a tale to tell.

So as you can see, it pays to devote a few minutes of careful thought to those who are charged with assisting you while you travel, for the hand that pushes the bell cart is the hand that rules your world, if only for a moment or two.

As for the two men with whom this lesson began, they were a study in contrast on many levels; the rich man employed the Kevin O’Leary method and placed his love of money above all else, while the poor man put kindness and consideration at the forefront of his life.

Simply put, the rich man was a douchecopter who stiffed me, while the poor man threw me a wrinkled twenty that smelled like beer and cigarettes. I maintained an open mind and treated both men with respect and a welcoming attitude but in each case the outcome was wildly unexpected. 

There endeth the lesson.


Check out the latest offering from Miss Four Eyes. (Yes, I suck at intros, just read the damn post, will ya?)

Bird Brain

The nightingale is known to have one of the most beautiful voices. They symbolize poets and their poetry because of their creative and seemingly spontaneous songs. Nightingales get their name because they’re known to sing at night as well as during the day, their favorite time to sing is the hour just before sunrise.

One of them lives in the tree right outside my window.


It never stops! EVER! I can’t take it anymore, I’m going insane! All day and night it goes “CooOOoooo CooOOoooo” as loud as it can. Imagine a high pitched whistle. Musical? NO. Not at 5 am in the morning. Annoying to the point that you consider making rotisserie nightingale for the neighbor’s dog? Oh yes.

to kill a nightingale

I know you think it’s a beautiful creature of nature, but it isn’t. This bird is pure evil.




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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84 Responses to A Tale Of Two Calls.

  1. Love this shit. So sensitive. Your choices between two men based on dosh and not knowing them. The dysfunctionality is breezing, and that’s what I love. The ‘choice’ is perhaps not yours to make though.

  2. mairedubhtx says:

    Funny how the “beautiful” people can be so ugly, just like Miss Four-Eyes beautifully singing nightingale can be so annoying. I have a beautiful peacock at the temple next door that has the most awful squawk. And your nicely dressed rich man was really ugly to you while his poorly his counterpart was more than decent. As Miss Four Eyes and I noted on her site, the more beautiful a creature is, sometimes the more annoying it is.

  3. Scary stuff! I’m ALWAYS nice to hotel staff 🙂

    Funny, you did a post here alluding to a Charles Dickens story within an hour of me doing a post about Charles Dickens. In my Reader, yours sits right above mine! We’re obviously SO in tune.

    • The Hook says:

      I bet you’re ALWAYS nice to everyone!
      And yes, we’re definitely in sync and personally, I find that to be a great honor.
      Thanks for dropping by.

  4. itsjustjaco says:

    Oh my word, I love this blog. #yeah

  5. Jennifer says:

    Sounds like you’re enjoying the tourists.

  6. Cathy Ulrich says:

    At least you have some great stories to tell, Robert. It all goes to show that beauty sometimes comes where we least expect it!

  7. twindaddy says:

    It’s ironic how people who can afford to tip and donate are tight with their money, yet people who are not so fortunate are more giving and appreciative of what they have.

  8. I love Miss 4 eyes. SHe’s cool, doesn’t giv a shit, just like me. Nonshit givers of the world UNITE!

  9. … and start pissing on each other

  10. Chatty Owl says:

    You wrote it. I got it! Awesome.

  11. Cameron says:

    “the hand that pushes the bell cart is the hand that rules your world, if only for a moment or two”

    So true of so many things. My own personal version is people who treat their nannies poorly. For the love of all that is holy, they are RAISING YOUR CHILDREN FOR YOU. Don’t be, as you so aptly put it, a “douchecopter.”

    I will be traveling in about ten days, and I shall be extra sweet to the staff for you, Mr. Not-So-Terrible.

  12. I’ll have to be extra kind to my lovely curvy hairdresser called, would you believe it, Victoria. She told me the other day with her Welsh accent: ” So nice when the sun’s out. Really makes you feel ‘up for it'”, “needing to put some spice into your marriage”, and such wild comes-on that my monocle nearly dropped-out.
    No , honestly, I’ll have to not believe the swagger for a bit, cause our love is on the line, and that IS precious. A bit of seriousness always appreciated.

  13. MissFourEyes says:

    Remember the time you wrote how tipping bellmen has a direct effect on the entire economy? I think it’s possible that you guys actually run the whole world. 🙂
    I love being plugged on your blog, partner. It’s such an honor!

  14. MishaBurnett says:

    I have found that, in general, poor people are more likely to tip, and to tip well, because poor people are more likely to have worked (or known people who have worked) jobs in which tips are a significant portion of the income. Rich people are more likely to see a tip as a bribe for doing something above and beyond (or beneath) one’s regular duties and not as payment for services rendered.

    And, while I try not abuse it, I do enjoy the power and respect that comes with being the guy who makes sure that other people’s offices have power and light and air conditioning.

  15. Pyx says:

    Amen brother Hooke, Amen.

  16. Katie says:

    I love the old school example of bellman revenge. You don’t hear enough about that, these days!

  17. Tammy says:

    Love the bucket of chicken thought – very evocative!

  18. Diane C says:

    I spent some time delivering pizza for some friends who had lost one of their drivers to another pizzaria. It was almost a hard and fast rule that the bigger the house and the faster the car parked outside, the smaller the tip. There was one guy who lived in a million dollar condo who would tip 25 cents. I kid you not. The drivers used to fight over who didn’t get him.
    BTW, just bought your book for my Kindle. Can’t wait to read it!

  19. Cayman Thorn says:

    A watch that doesn’t come from a case of beer? You mean to tell me that’s possible? Wow!

  20. I used to be a waiter. There were times when the Redneck’s $2 tip meant way more to me than the $10 tip from the Snooty Rich Bastard. I knew the Redneck (I am from Texas where Rednecks abound) was giving out of kindness for a job well done on my part whereas the $10 tip from the Snooty Rich Bastard seemed more like an afterthought. I mean in the end money is money but sometimes the source and circumstances of earning and appreciating it far outweigh the amount.

  21. My favourite line in this post that I enjoyed through and through?

    [WHY do I need a favourite line? Why do YOU ask such difficult questions? 😉 ]


    >I don’t indulge in revenge against guests – it simply devalues one’s soul
    – Well said! No, well realised!


  22. Uh oh, The Hook is telling morality tales, watch out world!

  23. Thea says:

    I think this is one of the best posts you’ve written, Hook. Entertaining character intros, alarming disclosures about acts of bellmen revenge, and a surprising ending. Great stuff.

  24. I had a conversation with someone recently about the importance of kindness to the bellman. I guess there is some real truth to it. Actually, what I did tell him was if you are at a hotel with the bellman don’t expect to use the cart without the bellman. I am doing my part to make your world better.

  25. Deborah the Closet Monster says:

    And a beautifully expressed lesson it is! Thanks, Hook.

  26. Pingback: Daily Prompt–Switcheroo | My Life, Such As It is

  27. Really enjoyed this post, Hook. Great tale of two men, and your understanding of your fellow man shines through. My husband and I know of a man who was generous and kind and a joy to be around — until he became successful. Now he is rude and unkind, a liar when it comes to money, and his generosity has dried up. Money certainly does change people – and not usually for the better.

    I found the sound of your nightingale online. It is pretty chipper and chirpy – maybe a bit too much for early morning. We have mourning doves here. If you want something that will drive you mad, take a listen to one of these over and over and over again.

  28. Bob Lee says:

    I too enjoyed this one and the lesson – Kinda funny how the saying goes you can’t judge a book by its cover and yet we can find the stiffs are usually the ones with the loot. I was always criticized by family & friends for ‘over’ tipping & yet your story here proves that appreciation and kindness will go a longer way than a fancy suit and a nasty ass attitude. As far as the bird … lol – I fortunately don’t have the chipper nightingales, mourning doves or the like but I’d like to shoot the god damn ice cream truck that cruises through at every inconceivable hour of the day and night – so my arghhhh bird is the ice-cream truck species …

  29. mabukach says:

    I’m using douchecopter from now on, hope you don’t mind. 🙂
    Loved this one, Hook!

  30. Lady Lovely says:

    I was so drawn in, so close to my monitor on this one. You and you’re story telling rule.

  31. Rohan 7 Things says:

    Fantastic post, one of your best I think. I liked the philosophical nature of contrasting the two men, decency, and indecency. And then of course the stories lol, my god, I will definitely not be messing with bell staff!!

    Thanks for the heads up 😉


  32. TBM says:

    A toothbrush dipped in the toilet. That’s just mean. Funny if it doesn’t happen to me, but still mean.

  33. Oh God what a tale. People should never underestimate the value and power of the bell man. He can make of break your trip. My husband always tips the bell man large, tells him his name and specifically asks that he take good care of us if possible.

    A bellman saved my life once. I collapsed in a hotel room with a severe asthma attack. My medicine was left in the car. The front desk wasn’t being very helpful. But the bellman remembered which car we arrived in, found out where it was parked from the valet, and went and retrieved my meds. He was my angel that day. 🙂

  34. rebecca2000 says:

    See the toothbrush thing freaks me out. I am always nice to everyone, so I don’t worry but ick!

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