A Brief Look At The Tao Of The Hook.

People often have one question after reading this blog for the first time, can you guess what it is?

No, It’s not, “Why the hell didn’t I just log onto Redtube and watch Mercedes Carrera do… anything rather than look at this dreck?” or “There has to be a new cat video up on YouTube by now, right?”

Nice try, friends, but we all know the obvious query that springs to mind after reading of my misadventures in the hospitality trenches…

“How the hell does The Hook get away with being The Hook?”

Well, to be absolutely honest… I have absolutely no idea.


My future doesn’t look bright so let’s live for today, shall we?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I do get away with being my open, brutally-honest, take-no-effin-prisoners-self, but I can’t tell you how exactly the noose never finds its way around my neck. There are a few simple rules that make up my personal code of conduct that I’ll happily share some of them with you now if you like…

You’re good with that? No wonder we get along so well.

ONE)  Never curse at a guest.  Of course, if the guest is already indulging in the language of potty mouth, there is some flexibility to be exercised. But you have to be certain (I mean dead certain) the traveler in question will be cool with it. Ultimately, it’s a judgement call, which brings us to my next rule…


TWO)  Always keep your “guestdar” in tip-top shape!  Without my ability to gauge a guest’s sense of humor I’d be lost. Seriously, I’d have been fired nineteen years ago if I just shot my Canadian mouth off at any traveler that crossed my path. Any bellman worth his salt can tell you whether a guest is thick-skinned enough to handle an offbeat comment or two.

And incidentally, those offbeat comments can make all the difference in the world; seasoned travelers deal with the same old chit chat from hotel staff all the time and as you can imagine, they get bored pretty damn quick. But how often do such guests deal with a bellman who is willing to go the extra mile off the beaten path and take things up a notch or ten?

Or for that matter, how often do such guests deal with a bellman named The Hook? There are plenty of Roberts out there in cheap uniforms… but there’s only one Hook, baby.

And by the way, my wife likes it that way – but that’s another matter entirely.

THREE)  When necessary, be a chameleon.  If I deal with a drunken hardcore gambler I’m not going to grab a bottle of hooch from the bar and start chugging it back… but I am going to let the lush rant and rave for a few minutes.

I’ll take the lewd comments, eye assaults and the odd butt grab from cougars – and let them think I like ’em – if it keeps them happy.

Get the point, friends? The best thing a bellman can do for his guest is eliminate the “Us vs. Them” mentality that often dominates most guest/worker relations. People rarely rat out one of their own to management. Let a traveler know you’re one of them and you’ll be golden.

The obvious exception being Klansmen or Trump supporters, of course.

I hate those guys.


FOUR)  I actually hold back!  Yes, I realize you’ve just spit out your coffee (again) but it’s true. In the twenty years (almost) that I’ve been a bellman the traveling public has gone from perturbed to openly hostile. Guests indulge in public behavior that would’ve been unthinkable a few years ago.

And there’s not a damn thing anyone can – or is willing to – do about it. I push back as much as I can without actually throttling anyone but there are limits I need to respect. Especially since I’ve grown rather fond of eating on a daily basis and having a roof over my egg-shaped head. And so I hold the best insults – and my rage – in until they dissipate. Incidentally, I sometimes have to do the same thing when dealing with my fellow employees and managers – and it sucks.


And there you have it, a brief look at my working code of ethics. Admittedly, this isn’t my best work (I’m still dealing with more baggage than a guy who actually gets paid to deal with baggage) but I hope you found it both entertaining and enlightening.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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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35 Responses to A Brief Look At The Tao Of The Hook.

  1. I thought you saved the best comments for us loyal readers!

  2. renxkyoko says:

    The motto ” Customers are always right” s*cks. I know that….. I’d been in retail since HS.

  3. Marion Hardy says:

    You always enlighten and entertain me Hook!!!

  4. Nice job, Hook. As a follow up I would like to read a story on each of the four situations. But as you would say, “It’s your blog.”

    • The Hook says:

      It’s a great idea, John.
      I’m just in the middle of writer’s block and the wonderful world of IBS – so we’ll see.

      • Writers block is a figment. Just sit and put down whatever comes into your mind.Write about the day or make up a character. Like old man Duggen who sits in the lobby with his hands on a cane blowing farts. I can’t help the IBS except for lots of peppermint oil.

      • The Hook says:

        I have an appointment with a specialist on July but thanks, John.

  5. StillWaters says:

    Sounds like you need to have the patience of a saint and the tact of a well-mannered and classy diplomat.
    If I ever get to Niagara Falls and stay at “your” hotel (whatever one it is), should I wear a flak jacket and bike helmet to protect myself from openly hostile guests?

  6. davidprosser says:

    Well, at least we know what buttons not to press if we meet you and maybe I can get your advice on how to meet a cougar ( mind you she’ll need to be about 120 years old for me to have a chance). Not much chance of me being a Klansman or a Trump supporter as most of my friends are legitimate and I know both my parents, so I shouldn’t upset you too much.

  7. Theresa says:

    When I come to Niagra Falls, I’m going to ask you which Hotel your do your “bellman” thing at, so I can stay there and grace you with my presence!! (Chuckle). I’m sure you’ll think I’m boring as hell!

  8. umashankar says:

    I am sure you can write an Odyssey about what you witness in your workdays.

  9. Tara says:

    A well thought out code. I too adhere to it, even when struck with the sudden, albeit rare, urge to rip some customer a new asshole, you know, because what goes around comes around.

  10. ‘The obvious exception being Klansmen or Trump supporters, of course.’ You’re not too fond of cheerleaders either

  11. At the end of the day, I know you thank your lucky stars that once again you were spared from having a mind reader check in for the weekend.

  12. curvyroads says:

    An honorable code, my friend. And a requirement for being forced to deal with the public, a blog to let off steam! 😁

  13. lisaorchard1 says:

    Great post. Honorable code that reflects that we all should act professionally with customers even if they don’t act professionally with us. Hard to do at times but necessary! 🙂

  14. Hook… I think that’s a perfectly reasonable, workable philosophy. But based on my illustrious career (not), I might not have the most usable opinion… Hugs!

  15. Hello Hook. Long time no see, reading this just made me realise how much I have missed reading your posts. There will be a lot for me to catch up to entertain me for a while! You know, your rules sound pretty much parallel to my job…. You have to relate, and you can’t offend but sometimes you just have to stand your ground and set boundaries….

    The worst concierge we have ever come across was in Nice. The French hotel staff really did our heads in, we call them gonna’s. Because they always say they are gonna do something, then it never happens. We even got sent to a train station an hour early because the concierge didn’t know when the local train was coming and just MADE IT up!!!!!

    We were in Canada in Feb, and we met some awesome hotel staff 🙂 None of them were called Robert though! 🙂

  16. You forgot. Hook’s real signature is his smiles and amused appraisal of the human species.

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