“People keep asking if I’m back, and I haven’t really had an answer. But, yeah, I thinking I’m back.” – Keanu Reeves as once-retired assassin John Wick.
There’s an old saying, “Give the people what they want.”
It worked in Salem, Massachusetts back in the day, right?
Okay, maybe not…
My point is, there are a lot of people (okay, maybe ten) who miss my stories from the hospitality trenches, and while I have a good reason for putting those tales on the back burner, one or two brief anecdotes can’t hurt, right? So here, in honor of the social media event known as Throwback Thursday, are a couple of mini-adventures from the halls of hotel land.
As much as I pride myself on being a cool customer at work (while in my goofy bellman duds, no less) there are times my facade drops. It is during moments like these that I’m reminded of something my beautiful bride once said to me: “You may be ‘The Hook’ to everyone else… but you’ll always be a dumbass to me.” To be fair, she knows me better than anyone else – and she’s not wrong.
So I arrived at a top-floor room during the height of the Sunday morning check-out frenzy feeling confident in my luggage slugging abilities only to be reminded of the “man” in “bellman”. The door opened to reveal two middle-aged but remarkably fit couples. They began bringing bags over to me one by one and then disappearing into the other end of the two-room suite until only a statuesque, raven-haired beauty remained.
She rolled a suitcase with a bag situated on top of it over to the door and bent riiiiight over to reveal cleavage so ample Kim Kardashian would be foaming at the mouth with envy. Now, as a forty-something male with ample access to television, films and pornography, I’ve seen my share of cleavage. To top it off, I’ve been a bellman for two decades, and let me tell you, folks, hotels are meat markets these days.
So I shouldn’t have been phased by a little (okay, a lot of) cleavage, right?
RAVEN-HAIRED BEAUTY: I’m concerned these bags will fall over if I put them on the cart, they’re top heavy. What’s my best option to put these bags on the cart, sir?
ME: Well, your breast option is…
Yes, I went there. Unintentionally, I swear… but I went there nonetheless.
At that point, I could’ve apologized outright and potentially opened the can of wordplay worms wide open or I could’ve ignored the busty elephant ion the doorway and stayed the course. Discretion being the better part of valor (apparently) I stayed the course.
ME: I mean, your best option is to let me separate the bags, miss.
To her credit, she simply utilized a wide-as-Texas grin to let me know I wasn’t fooling anyone… but she was okay with it.
Bullet… dodged. Again.
Now let’s see what happened when I met up with an African-American family from Watts. Yes, I said Watts, and yes, they were every bit as black as black can be, Lord bless ’em.
There were nine of them; two parental units and seven kids of varying ages, though not that varied. (I’m guessing most people don’t have televisions in their bedrooms in Watts.) A little guy about nine years of age emerged shirtless from the bathroom as I was shuttling bags to my cart. He was drying his Afro with a towel when he took notice of my presence.
LITTLE COOL DUDE: Who’s the cracker? What the hell’s going on?
I couldn’t help but bust out laughing – but his momma? She was not happy, not one bit.
MOMMA: Who do you think you are, speaking to this man like that? And cursing too?
She walked right over to him and slapped him across the face. His shock only increased, so much so that he took no heed of her words…
LCD: HOLY SHIT!
Out of the mouth of babes, right?
I hope you enjoyed my bellman chronicles, friends. Fair warning though; I won’t be back this way anytime soon. Unlike John Wick, I’m not really back, I’m just passing through.
See you in the lobby, kids…