One of the most enjoyable jobs I ever had in the hotel business was being a doorman — not just your run-of-the-mill doorman, but a top-hat-and-tails-wearing doorman. The door staff members were the unofficial errand boys for hotel upper management. We didn't mind; we kind of reveled in the access it gave us. We ran all sorts of errands, for which the management folks always tipped us.
On occasion, however, we were asked to perform an errand that was a little outside the boundaries — picking up a giant, frozen lobster at the airport and delivering it to a manager's house before it thawed for a party, valet parking for the CEO's Christmas party, and giving a tour of the city to a manager's grandmother, to name a few.
One such errand that sticks in my mind was the time I was asked to pick up our general manager's gracious wife at the garage, where she was dropping off her car for service, and bring her back to the hotel. When I got to the garage, I jokingly asked her, “Where to, ma'am?”
She surprised me by asking if I minded if we picked up her daughter on the way back to the hotel. It wasn't exactly on the way — more like about 10 miles in the opposite direction — but hey, no problem.
We picked her up and were heading back to the hotel, when the GM's wife asked her if she was hungry. All of a sudden, mother and daughter want to go to Wendy's. I indicated that I'd been away from the hotel a little longer than expected and offered to order their meal at the drive-thru.
So, I'm sitting in a Lincoln in my top hat and tails, while the two ladies in the backseat give their order at the drive-thru speaker. I pull up to the window, and the Wendy's guy looks at me with amusement. I'm thinking, “At least I've got a cooler-looking uniform than you,” but I'm suddenly feeling kind of silly. We left, they ate while I drove, and we finally returned to the hotel in time for my shift to end.
I didn't really mind doing it, and I even got a Frosty out of the deal. But I can point to that particular moment as when I decided I might not want to wear a top hat and tails the rest of my career.