The work can be tedious at times, but the life of a bellman is anything but boring.
Well, actually, it can be boring – but never for long. The truth is, my days fall into patterns of long stretches of inactivity that are broken up by:
- Check-outs. (I start in the mornings so my days seem topsy-turvy.)
- Guest deliveries.
- Internal deliveries.
- Being a flying monkey for conference guests.
- Internal BS. (SO much internal BS.)
- Lunch breaks. (Bellmen are like Hobbits; we have several meal breaks.)
Let’s look at a few stats from a regular day that is truthfully, anything but.
One Shih Tzu that has to be woken up (followed by a symphony of growls), lifted off my bed – which is no longer my bed – and carried downstairs so she can do her morning business.
One teenager that is even more difficult to wake. It literally takes thirty minutes to get her up and even then, she looks like a well-put-together-super-smart-but-still-zombified-teen.
One wife that is an absolute joy to wake up in the morning. (To be clear, the wife reads my blog on occasion. Enough said?)
One ten-minute walk to work with lovely scenery like dead squirrels, stray cats, bleary-eyed fellow workers and the roar of the Falls to awaken my senses.
One rundown from the Midnight Bellman on the previous evening’s shenanigans. Such as…
- Who got locked out of their room while naked.
- The latest hooker hi-jinks.
- Who got locked out of someone else’s room while naked.
- How many noise complaints broke the silence of a mostly-slumbering guest population.
- The latest inter-departmental hook-ups throughout the hotel in offices, vacant rooms, service areas, bathrooms, the darkened pool area and pretty much anywhere two people can copulate. (You’d be surprised just how many areas fit that bill.)
Two pieces of toast in the “Staff Caff” before the day truly begins to burn. (Yes, I really know how to live.)
At least one bus tour, encompassing at least forty bags, forty-odd guests (emphasis on “odd”), one exhausted driver and on more than one occasion, one nuttier-than-squirrel-poop-guide.
Take last Wednesday for example.
Five buses of Japanese travelers departing at six-thirty in the morning.
Ten Japanese tour guides – who were actually nice as Japanese pie.
One African-American tour guide who was a dead-ringer for Drake. Seriously. (How he ever hooked up with a Japanese tour group I’ll never know.)
Three hundred pieces of luggage, which all had to be sorted so guests could identify them and take them to the appropriate bus – which amounted to a potential nightmare.
Five hundred bottles of water. (Apparently the Japanese fear dehydration more than Godzilla.)
Five cases of chips.
Six cases of mini-chocolate bars.
Luckily, the entire operation went smooth as silk.
I know, I was surprised as you no doubt are.
To be clear, though, the front of the hotel looked like the Fall of Saigon as each bus arrived.
There were cabs and police cruisers to move (I’ll explain soon) and clueless tourists to save.
Yes, tourists often walk onto the street instead of crossing at designated points. This can be fatal when buses and other vehicles are pulling in and out of traffic at a breakneck pace.
As for the police cruisers…
Imagine a lobby filled with piles of luggage similar to this but with several more piles and hundreds of Japanese travelers.
Now imagine a small army of EMS personnel, police officers, and fire fighters cutting though the middle of the chaos with a gurney as one of them works furiously to revive a woman that had been claimed by a heart attack.
As life thrived all around her, a sixty-nine-year-old woman slipped away.
As is sometimes the case, none of the tour guides took notice of the rolling scene. The woman was loaded into the ambulance. The fire fighters left and the officers left their cruisers parked outside – and caused a major traffic snarl when the buses arrived – and began their investigation.
By the afternoon, the hotel had settled back to normal.
And then the lobby began to flood.
Like the Titanic.
After thirty-minutes of hair-drenching chaos, the water was turned off and the clean-up began. In time, another crisis had passed.
Life at the hotel continued as ever.
Another extraordinary day in Niagara Falls that really wasn’t that extraordinary at all. Not in my world.
See you in the lobby, kids…