It’s been a pretty typical day here in the Niagara Falls hospitality salt mines; plenty of over-caffeinated corporate drones, rugrats hopped-up on Red Bull, mentally exhausted parents, well-meaning, but confused foreigners and hookers to deal with.
And Santa Claus, of course.
I’ll say it for you… WHAAAT?
No, I haven’t been spiking my morning juice again. (I learned my lesson after waking up on Ned Hickson’s front lawn dressed as Wonder Woman; a Slurpee can be a powerful drug if you spike it properly.) No, this is one of those incidents that could only happen to yours truly.
I served a very nice older couple from Georgia this morning. On the surface, they were super-friendly (naturally), polite and chatty. She was a pageant coach who was genuinely concerned about only taking on kids and moms who were serious about the field and not looking to get rich while pandering to the lowest common denominator. Not only was he was content to let her chat about her accomplishments, he appeared to be proud of her and was actually interested in what she had to say.
It was a refreshing change to meet a couple who had been married for decades and still honestly loved one another. I encounter many couples who are not-so-secretly planning to add ground glass to one anther’s meals once they get home…
But that’s another post all-together.
As for this post, well, it continued to be typical in every way:
- I loaded their many, many bags into the trunk of their mid-size car despite the fact it was already loaded to the max with odds and ends.
- They made the obligatory Tetris reference.
- I received a decent tip.
- The wife bid me a final farewell and settled into the passenger seat.
- The husband gave me what I consider to be the greatest compliment of my hospitality career.
“Have to tell you, buddy, I wouldn’t do your job for all the money in the world! Don’t know how you do it!”
And now, some context…
After shocking me with his praise. my new friend provided me with his background. Turns out he was just inducted into The International Santa Claus Hall of Fame – yes, it’s a real thing – for the many contributions he’s made to the Santa legend since 1958. While most of us are content to take from the world while complaining about our place in it, this man has devoted innumerable hours to Toys for Tots, assorted charities, local food drives. He’s even attended the tree lighting at the Governor’s Mansion. For all I know, he’s an angel in human form who is obsessed with impersonating fat guys.
At any rate, he was genuinely impressed with The Hook, which led to my colorful response:
“You’re Santa… you get peed on! On a regular basis, no less! And yet, you still wouldn’t do my job? That may be the greatest compliment I’ve ever received!”
He laughed a great big Santa laugh, upped my gratuity and headed out – without, it should be noted, a boost from flying livestock.
Just another day in The Hook’s life, folks. See you in the lobby…