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?
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.
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…