That’s a damn good question, isn’t it?
I’m glad I thought of it. Now let’s get to it shall we?
One) “Whose decision was it to bring our guests closer to the Falls than ever?” It’s been two weeks since a flood worthy of a James Cameron flick struck the hotel. I haven’t written much about this particular incident since I rather enjoy being employed, but in a nutshell:
- The hotel’s pool was removed months ago to accommodate a complete lobby revamp that will see my desk and storage area moved to a spot that once hosted the hot tub. (The Bellmen lobbied unsuccessfully to keep said hot tub.) Taking down these walls allowed the extremely-frigid Canadian winter air to bombard exposed pipes.
- The pipes burst (shocker!) at three am on a Sunday. These things never happen when it’s convenient. Fate’s a bitch.
- I awoke Monday morning to a call from work. “You’ve got to get in here, Hook! We’re not going to say anything… this one has to be seen to be believed!”
- Sure enough, the second floor, lobby and basement were all dark and wet (there’s a joke in there somewhere) as insane amounts of water flowed where it was never meant to… and chaos reigned.
- Ceiling tiles hung precariously. Lights flickered. Office computers buzzed as they shorted out. There was an eerie silence. Cue the horror movie score.
- Even though the upper floors were unaffected I spent the next several hours evacuating guests. We drafted other staff members to act as temporary bellmen, though none of them rose to my level of snark. In retrospect, that’s just as well.
- The hotel was devoid of guests and the water had been sucked up and pushed out the front doors (seriously!) by mid-afternoon.
- My decision to play “My Heart Will Go On” on my phone as the whole aquatic disaster played out received mixed reactions… but I stand by it.
- The electronics in a few elevators are still fried but otherwise life has gone on and it’s business as usual at the hotel.
And speaking of business…
TWO) There isn’t any! Well, to be clear, the hotel isn’t doing too bad; winter in Niagara Falls is always reminiscent of The Shining’s Overlook Hotel anyway. But the bellmen haven’t seen much action this season.
The truth is, travelers are cheaper and more hostile than ever. The average schmuck would rather strap twelve bags to Little Timmy or re-purpose Grandma’s wheelchair or walker into a luggage cart than ask for a bellman’s assistance. Think I’m being dramatic? Here’s an actual gust interaction I took part in last week.
FEMALE GUEST: (Contrary to every rule of writing, being vague works best for my purposes. This way, I keep my job you get the important bits. Everyone wins.) You got any of those luggage trolley things, pal? I got a lot of junk in my trunk!
ME: You look fine to me, but I can come to your car and assist you, miss.
FG: You don’t have any carts? What kind of joint is this?
ME: The kind of joint that has bellmen, miss. We know you work hard all year long so we’re here to work for you while you enjoy the natural splendor of Niagara.
FG: What the hell did you just say?
ME: We’re a full-service property. The bellman will bring the cart out to your car, load the bags for you and deliver them to your room.
FG: Well lah-dee-da! That’s high class! How much is that going to cost me?
My initial reaction was to respond with, “Less than a tenth of your last welfare check, miss.” But that would’ve been wrong. Funny as fuck… but wrong.
ME: Oh, there’s no actual charge, miss. They pay me to be here for you. They don’t pay me much… but they pay me nonetheless.
FG: You don’t talk like no hotel guy! I never met a bellboy like you before before!
ME: And you never will again, miss.
And that’s a quick snapshot of my life at the moment, folks. Many guests just can’t disconnect from their worries for a few days and so they carry their frustration with them. It turns into hostility and that negativity is projected forward. Truth be told, I take more crap from people then I ever return.
But sometimes I have to fight back in my own manner. At the end of the day I’m prepared for these harsh winters. My bills are paid, my mortgage is non-existent and I stopped selling organs to cover my comic book collecting habit… so I’m good.
Then again, my daughter loves taking trips to NYC to experience Broadway up-close-and-personal, so I may need to buy even more weed stock.
See you in the lobby, kids…