The following is a story I wrote the company newsletter while working as a Bellman at the Hyatt at Fisherman’s Wharf newsletter back in the 1990s. The premise for the article was to gather stories from various folks in the hotel and leave it to the reader to determine if the tales were true or…tall.  Here is my entry:

Now, I know what you are thinking: “Look how long this article is. I won’t have time for my third helping of fried pork products if I read this!” If you stop here you will be missing out on one of the greatest adventures to ever take place between these finely crafted walls. What other articles can offer danger, terrorism, intrigue and mayhem with a cast that includes a US Senator, 100 angry demonstrators, hundreds of the social elite…and a doorman and bellman? Get comfortable, put down your eating utensils and read the true story about what it really means to be a Hyatt employee.

It all started on a day much like today back in September of ’91. A U.S. Senator, Senator Solarz from New York, was here giving a speech and the hotel was buzzing with anticipation. While the Senator and his supporters strolled though the hotel lobby, a group of demonstrators began to swarm around the front driveport. They were people of Indian decent who were protesting the Senator’s involvement with the government of India. They seemed to be a peaceful group, but with their determination and growing numbers, they seemed a bit intimidating. The Senator, his followers, and even the Hyatt employees could not ignore the rhythmic chanting from the driveport that fine day.

I, of course, was at the Bell Desk, standing at the utmost of attention, surveying the situation. Our then Director of Security stood in the opposite corner of the lobby and looked on. I watched as his beady, trained eyes scanned the premises for suspicious characters, the butt of a concealed gun, or perhaps the flash from a drawn dagger. Something was going to happen, I thought, of he would be very disappointed. His eyes eventually focused on me and with that, he marched with great intensity toward me. Before I could get a wisecrack in, he leaned over, pulled me close and whispered, “I think one of those protestor guys planted a bomb in the men’s room!” Have you ever laughed so suddenly that a little globule of saliva finds its way off your tongue and into the air? “I’m serious” he said as he took a step back and wiped the embarrassing projectile from his face. “One of those demonstrators went into the men’s room and when he came out, the crowd dispersed. He probably planted a bomb!”

When I asked him the color of the sky in his world, he ignored me and proceeded to order me – Bellman Extrordanaire – to go into the men’s room and check for BOMBS! With this request I instantly went back in my memory banks to my first interview with Human Resources. In my mind I browsed over the Bellman job description and didn’t see anything about disabling terrorist bombs or remember signing the “possibility of accidental dismemberment” waiver form. I decline the Security Director’s order with the greatest of all comebacks: “No, You!”

“I can’t, I have to secure this area…” he said.

“Secure this area?? I can get shot just as easily as you!” I whined.

He stood and stared at me with a serious, almost somber expression as I thought “This guy is as sharp as a balloon!” For a reason I still don’t quite understand, I agreed and took off across the crowded lobby towards the men’s room. With every step I drew closer to Bellman martyrdom.

I entered the restroom as I never had before…with no great sense of urgency. I scanned the restroom for anything resembling a bomb and at the same time wondered how flammable my sporty Bell coat and slacks really were. At that moment, the door opened slowly and Steve Rebottaro, the once and future Doorman, stuck his reluctant noggin through the opening. The panicked look on his face was comical. Soon the rest of his body followed and we both set out to save the lives of the guests, the employees, the Senator, and perhaps the entire hotel industry as we knew it. We decided we should split up: Steve would check the wash areas while I opted for the restroom stalls. After moments of intense silence  and surveillance, I began to realize that there was no bomb, but Steve had not had that epiphany yet. So, it was time to mess with Steve. Just as he was carefully rummaging though a waste basket, I opened the stall door and, with the strength of 1000 bellman, slammed the stall door shut. Now, I’m not saying Steve was scared, but have you ever seen the cartoon where the bulldog sneaks up on a cat and the cat jumps up in fright and gets his claws stuck in the ceiling? Let’s just say Steve is still pulling sheetrock from his finger and toenails. After freeing Steve from his plaster shackles and popping his bugging eyes back into his head, I led him towards the door. Would we get a hero’s welcome when we came out? Would Mr. Soto present us with the “Keys to The Hyatt” for our service? Would Steve ever come out of shock? I opened the door and headed out into the lobby, shading my eyes from the camera flashes of the paparazzi that were sure to be greeting us. Alas, the lobby was empty. NOBODY! In fact I thought I saw tumbleweed blow past the concierge desk. The heroes had returned – unnoticed.

Well that day is long past us now. Every year on it’s anniversary, Steve and I meet, much like veterans from any decent war, to offer each other comfort and support. The numbers at the reunion have dwindled as of late – this year Steve was the only one to attend. (Hey, I was busy!) So next time you see a Bellman or a Doorman or even a Valet for that matter, feel secure in knowing that when it gets down to it, the guys on the “front line” will come through in the clutch. Whenever you see Steve, who has since moved on to other battlefields, don’t say anything about what he has done – he is far too proud for that. Just give him a quick wink to let him know you appreciate his gallant efforts on that fine September day.