Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Doorman's Best Friend: A Thank You Letter

Dear Friend,

I'm just writing to say thank you for what you did for me today:

Thanksgiving has given me lot's to be thankful for, as the holiday tends to lend itself. We sit with our family for a few hours, stuff our faces, watch football. Many of us drink, though I use that day as a recovery from a usually raucous night-before. We count our blessings, whichever ones we're fortunate enough to have, and disappear into a food-enduced coma.

This year, I had all of those things. Hell, even as the last guy in seniority, I actually had the day off. But there was a lot missing. My dignity went out the window even before I became a doorman, so I wasn't concerned about that. What I was missing was my home.

In the days after Sandy hit, I held out hope that everything with my apartment was going to be okay, even as I saw what wreckage it did to the electrical equipment in the building. Now, nearly a month later, I'm still coping with the grim reality that it will be uninhabitable until March, the earliest.

I loved my apartment. For the neighborhood, panty-dropping rooftop view, and the price, it was a once in a lifetime experience. I can come back in March and all of my possessions will still be there, but what the fuck an I supposed to do till then? Right now, I'm staying with my parents, on a couch in the laundry room, because they have a full house with no spare bedroom.

Don't get me wrong- I love my family, and I'm grateful to have a roof over my head. And I'm grateful for them taking me in with no questions asked. But I had built a life for myself, and with one swift "act of God", it's gone. I'm right back to where I started - miserable in my job, living with my parents.

The apartment was what I had to show for my hard work. It made all of these little degrading nuances of being a doorman sting a bit less. I could be more calm and let things roll off my back because I knew I had a nice place to go home to, and it was all mine, and I fucking earned it.

Now what do I have? I'm 28, a failed actor, a doorman, whose personal life is an acid bath, living on Staten Island with Mom and Dad... in the laundry room.

Last night, I had just dozed off to sleep after tossing and turning on the couch for hours, unable to curb my anxiety. My mom had finished a massive load of laundry and piled in on top of the couch, which is perched against the wall. I must have rolled over a little aggressively and shook the couch, and when I did, an avalanche of clothing fell on top of me, from head to toe. 

I immediately started tossing small articles of clothing off my face, till I got to the last one, which happened to be my mom's bra. I rush to get it off, and when I do, the strap gets caught on my ear, and I yank my head into the oscillating fan standing next to the couch. With that, I scream like a lunatic, and begin kicking clothes all over the room. 

Just a short time ago, I was enchanting my friends and women alike with my 52-story rooftop view, proving to them that while I may be a doorman, I refuse to live like one, and there was a glimmer of hope in my future. Now, I'm whipping my family's clothing around the laundry room like the Tasmanian Devil in a full-blown temper tantrum. How the fuck did this happen to me? 

This incident fucks up my night's sleep, and in my depressed state, I stay in bed till it's time to leave for work at 1pm, as I've done every day for the past month. Needless to say, I was fucking cranky today. 

When I first started working this job, I would get into several fights a day. Over time, I learned how to avoid them and let things roll off my back. I also had something at stake, which was to make sure I had money for rent. Now, with little financial responsibility and a big chip on my shoulder, I'm back to getting into screaming matches at the drop of the hat. 

They're not like the usual "hockey fights", which are stupid and harmless arguments that are necessary to protect my money. I'm talking about completely losing control and scaring the shit out of myself. That happened to me today, on three different occasions. The problem was, today, I was dead wrong all three times. I was screaming at people, getting out all of my aggression and making myself look like a fool. My co-workers laughed at me, and people who weren't even around to see these incidents were saying things like "so, I heard you almost killed a SuperShuttle driver for no reason today."

That isn't me. I'm going through a rough time, and people don't seem to see that. They watch like I'm some sort of sideshow, hoping some violence will break out so they have a story to tell when they get home. They want to see something worthy of filming and putting on World Star Hip Hop. They don't see what I'm going through, and they don't see who I really am, nor do they care to. 

I feel terrible about the way I acted today, and I'm embarrassed. People avoided me for most of the night - even my friends who play music in front of the hotel, who are always a welcomed break to chat with. After a couple of hours into my Lonely Road to Midnight, you stopped by for a visit - your first since your long vacation, and made it okay. 

It's been a long time since someone was so eager to see me. 

We did our usual routine - a little dance, if you will. You're stronger than ever. I made small talk with your mom, heard about her recent trip overseas, while you burned that energy from being in the house all day and I worked off my doorman aggression. All the while, you never made me feel guilty for embarrassing myself. 

I could have told you about all the shitty things I did today. All the awful things I said to people, all the cursing and the screaming, all the belittling and displacement, but you wouldn't care. You waited all day, all week, for our little dance. You could care less about all the other petty bullshit. You didn't come to judge, or lay on some unwarranted advice on anger management - you came to say hi to your friend, and that was all I needed. When it was time to leave, you looked back, wanting to stay a little while longer.  If it were up to me, we would hang out all night. 

So I'd just like to thank you for making me feel appreciated for a moment, and for forgiving my buffoonery. Even though our time is brief, I appreciate you stopping by for a visit, and making a doorman feel loved on the very sidewalk that can sometimes be so cruel to him. 



Friday, November 23, 2012

The Concierge Stories: But, My Fright...

For my new readers, I spent about a year working as a hotel concierge before I became a doorman. Being a concierge isn't all that bad, but the problem was that I worked for a company that outsourced the desks of over fifty hotels in Manhattan and Brooklyn. They were a nightmare to work for, because they employed over 200 people to cover all of these desks, and they basically put you wherever they wanted, whenever they wanted. The work week started on Wednesday, and you got your schedule for the week on Tuesday at 8pm. Your schedule changed every week, and they would put you wherever they needed coverage. That was the main reason why I left, because I didn't mind the work much, but that doesn't mean I don't have a shit load of stories. Here's one:

If working in hotels has taught me anything, it's that China isn't taking over the world anytime soon. It's not that they're stupid- they just always seem lost. Of all the different walks of people that I see every day, the Chinese are, bar none, the most clueless. You know when things are chaotic and someone uses the term "Chinese Fire Drill?" I understand that now, 100%. 

I was trapped working at the concierge/information desk in the Worst Hotel in America. (There will be plenty more about this hellhole in a future blog.) It was about 9:30am and the morning rush of selling double-decker bus tours and shopping trips to hoards of dunce-caps had just subsided. Then, as if out of a mist from a b-horror film, emerged a tiny, old Chinese man. He wore a fisherman's hat with beige cargo shorts and a matching button-down shirt. He was dressed exactly like the Crocodile Hunter, only unfortunately for me, without a stingray through his heart. As he got closer, I noticed that his droopy face had sporadic gardens of gray whiskers. 

Chinese Man- "Herro"

Me- "Yes, sir. What can I do for you?" 

Chinese Man- "Herro, my fright reave at trerve o'crock and I want to book a shutter." 

(Translation: My flight is at twelve o'clock, and I want to book a shuttle.)

He handed me his information, and his flight was, in fact, at noon of that day. He had to go to JFK airport, which, from midtown Manhattan, takes at least an hour. For international flights, they want you there three hours in advance. He had to be there thirty minutes ago. He wanted me to book him a SuperShuttle transfer, which takes an additional hour or two to get to the airport, because they have to pick up guests from other hotels on the way. 

This man's only option was to ask the doorman for a taxi, and leave immediately. 

Me- "Sir, you don't have time for a shuttle. You need to leave now."

Chinese Man- "OH!... But my fright reave at trerve o'crock and I want to book a shutter."

Me- "Sir, there's no time for that. You're already late. You need to leave right now."

Chinese Man- "OH!... But my fright reave at trerve o'crock and I want to book a shutter."

This is going to take some serious pantomiming. I start making elaborate gestures towards the door, and an imaginary plane taking off with my hands (with wooshie sounds, like a fucking kindergarten teacher). No matter what I said, he would return the same response:

Chinese Man- "OH! But... my fright reave at trerve o'crock and I want to book a shutter."

Me- "Sir!!! You need to go to the doorman and ask him to get you a taxi to JFK airport and leave RIGHT NOW!" 

Chinese Man- "OH!... But my fright reave at trerve o'crock and I want to book a shutter."

Ten minutes go by, and I'm grabbing my hair, and flailing my arms towards the door like Carlton Fisk. He doesn't fucking get it. 


Chinese Man- "OH!... But my fright reave at trerve o'crock and I want to book a shutter."

I didn't know what to do. There was nothing I could say, because he clearly didn't understand a rick of english. In a desperate, final attempt to get through to him, I took out a piece of paper, and drew him this picture:

I shit you not, this is what I drew. My drawing skills are abysmal, to say this least, but I drew this picture in a fit of rage. I wish I drew it to be funny, but I drew it because I was angry. Notice the tear on the man chasing the airplane. 

When I was done, I slapped the pen down, and slid the picture across the desk. He picked it up, then analyzed it for a few seconds. Looks like I finally got through to him. 

Chinese Man- "OH!!! But-"

Me- "Don't say it." 

Chinese Man- "But my fright reave-"

Me- "THAT'S IT!!!' 

I ran around the desk, grabbed him by the hand, and did what I should have done ten minutes ago - walked him to the King of the Sidewalk. 

Me- "He needs a taxi to JFK." 

Doorman- "You got it, boss." 

Now, it's his probrem. See? The doorman gets no respect. 

I never saw Chinese Man again. He probably missed his fright. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Doorman vs Taxi Driver

A friend of mine, who plays music in front of the hotel and watches me work for extend periods of time, once described by day perfectly: "it's a series of shady cash transactions and scary verbal altercations."

The shady cash transactions is for another blog, but the scary verbal altercations, nine times out of ten, is with a taxi driver. (The other is usually a civilian, or a gypsy/pedicab driver.)

Please note that this isn't a blog to rip these people to shreds. We all gotta eat. I've spent a year working with them, trying to figure out why I find myself getting to several screaming matches per day. It happens so often, that other doorman and I refer to them as "hockey fights". You know how you watch two hockey players pummel each others faces, then casually stroll into the penalty box and bull shit with their teammates like nothing happened? I full understand that now. It's part of the game.

I used to get so shaken up whenever I so much as had to ask someone to move their car. Now, nothing fazes me. I've screamed "IF YOU EVER COME AROUND HERE AGAIN, I'LL FUCKING KILL YOU!!!", then, in the same breath, turned back to the other doorman and said "so anyway, we order another round of drinks..."

This job isn't for everyone. You have to show people that you have vinegar in your balls, or you'll be eaten alive. It's all a hustle, and the weak ones don't last. When you have a bunch of guys on the same block, scavenging for the same money, things get very fucking ugly.

For the most part, I have a really good relationship with the regular guys that pick up airport fares from the hotel. We have an understanding, and that understanding isn't really for this blog either, but it keeps everyone happy and harmonious. I talk to a few guys, and I try to help them out as much as I can. In return, they take care of me when I need something.

I understand their suffering, I really, really, fucking do. People treat them worse than they treat me, they work anywhere between twelve and eighteen hours per day, and they have to deal with asshole doormen cursing them out. I'm a model customer when I take them, and I always mention that I'm a doorman when I get in, so they don't "take me for a ride" (when they sense that you don't know where you are and take the scenic route to drive up the meter. They do that, a lot.)

After talking to a few, and this is based solely on ones that I've spoken to, they have to cover a certain amount every day just to pay for the medallion. Once they hit a certain amount of money, the medallion is paid and they can start making money. That could take as long as ten hours. Could you imagine working for ten straight hours in a day before you we're able to make a dime? Most guys who drive don't own the medallion. The guy who owns it is usually filthy rich and sitting on a few of them, collecting money. One of my bosses supposedly owns six of them. He sure as fuck isn't driving any of them, especially on Sundays, where he has season tickets to my beloved New York Football Giants on the 50 yard line.

So yeah, working six days per week, 18 hours per day will wear on you, and make you hungry for a big job to pay off your medallion and start making some fucking money. It's also not easy doing so when you have people screaming at you all day, calling you a "terrorist" or a "lowlife". Ever been whistled at when someone tries to get your attention? Or had someone scream "YO!" to you at work? Infuriating, right? That's about as polite as people get when hailing a taxi.

Now, while I empathize with them, I can also say that many of them are pieces of shit. Being on the bottom of the societal totum pole, you look for others who are equal or less than you as an outlet for aggression. It happens to me all the time. I'll get abused by a guest who thinks their better than me, take it out on a taxi driver, then feel guilty about it twenty minutes later.

There's a funny standoff that always happens with us doormen and drivers when they're dropping off a guest with luggage. We believe that it's the drivers duty to unload the luggage and pass them on to us, where we greet the guest and take them inside.  Most drivers will do this, but a good chunk will collect their tip, then let us do all of the labor. I unload luggage most of the time, mostly out of boredom, but I give the driver a second to see if he's up for the task. The good ones that receive a tip will get out and unload the trunk as a courtesy to the guest. I like to stand by, wait till the guest pays, then see what the driver wants to do.

Every so often, a driver will pull up, honk is horn at me, then point to his trunk. This boils all of our blood. And it's funny, whenever I explain this to people, they don't really understand why it makes us so mad. All I can say is that it's like a "Fido, go fetch the luggage, I don't feel like getting up."

Whenever this happens, I walk over to the window, and calmly ask "you don't want to finish the job?"

A lot of them will tell me "no" flat out. There isn't much that I can say with the guest sitting right there, so I go about my business and unload the trunk, letting him think that he's beaten me. When all is said and done, I gesture for the guest to head towards the door, and leave the trunk wide open. Once the guest is inside, I walk over to the window and, very calmly say "Your trunk is open." 

They then have to get their fat asses up to close the trunk. It might sound stupid, but it enrages them. 

If I had a nickel for every time a taxi driver has screamed "YOU'RE A FUCKING ASSHOLE!!!" as I walk away with an accomplished smirk on my face... I'd have lots of nickels. 

But I digress... 

The reason why I started writing this blog is because two isolated incidents happened today that really capture my dealing with NYC taxi drivers. I made a huge stink about the first one on twitter, so let's start there: 

Between 3pm and 6pm is when most of the airport trips go out. We have a line of guys that wait hours for airport fare. The New York airport fares are valuable because you can take the trip there, then wait in the taxi stand to get a fare back to the city. It's essentially a $110 job before the tip. So from 3pm-6pm, these fuckers drive around with their "off duty" lights on, trying to steal an airport fare from the guys who have been waiting there all day. It's illegal to for taxi drivers to solicit a fare with their "off duty" lights on, but no one fucking enforces it. 

Whenever someone needs a taxi during that time frame, I have to deal with these assholes pulling up, asking me where the guest is going (also completely illegal), hoping that it's an airport fare, then peeling out when they are dissatisfied with my answer. They also have zero regard of whether or not my feet are underneath their tires when they flour it down the street, mind you. It's all fucking infuriating. The guest, in turn, thinks that I'm incompetent and incapable of completing the mindless task of standing in the middle of the street till a taxi pulls up, thus, decreasing my odds of getting a tip. These hours are chock-full of me screaming things like "scumbag" and "cock sucker" and whispering little nothings like "I wish I could rip you out of that car by your throat and beat you to death." 

It's 4pm, and a woman, holding a baby, asks for a taxi. During this time, I always have to ask where they're going because if it's close, I tell them to just walk. It's not worth going through all the trouble and getting angry because some fat fuck wants to take a taxi five blocks down to Applebee's with their shitty children. 

Woman- "St. Luke Roosevelt emergency room."

Whoa, okay. 

Me- "Okay, right away. Do you want me to call an ambulance?" 

Woman- "No, it's okay. My daughter is running a high fever." 

I run out to the street. Every taxi passes by, screaming "LaGuardia, JFK, Airport?" Before I could explain the situation, they would zoom off like King Kong was thundering after them. 

The hospital is no more than seven blocks away, and this shouldn't be a difficult task. I bet if I stopped a civilian, they would take her. The mother seemed to be okay and calm enough, but there were no taxis in sight. Then I noticed one in the taxi stand that must have pulled up while I was distracted by the other guys. I jogged over, and the driver was sitting in there, with an unopened Subway sandwich. Since it was a Tuesday, the slowest day of the week, he shouldn't have a problem taking a local trip that would take no more than ten minutes. Then he could come back, and get the next available airport fare, because he did me a favor. He's a human being, right? 

I get to the taxi, and it's an Eastern European man, taxi medallion number 7A56. 

Me- "Hey man, can you do me a favor? I have a woman there and she needs to take her baby emergency room. Can you take her?" 

Almost every human being, even the worst of the lowlives, would put any task aside to help an ailing baby. This man looked at me, completely unfazed. 

7A56- "No, I want to eat my sandwich." 

My hand was already on the handle of the backseat. There wasn't any doubt in my mind that any other human being would throw their sandwich on the passenger seat without thinking. I was taken aback. He began unraveling his Subway sandwich. 

Me- "Did you hear what I just said?" 

No answer. He pulls what appears to be a BLT out, and bites it voraciously. 

Me- "Are you fucking kidding me?" 

He doesn't look up. The woman begins walking towards me. I stop her. 

Me- "Dude, she has a sick kid. Come on."


Me- "You'll never get an airport fare from me." 

Still nothing. He keeps chewing, with his mouth open and a glop of mayo in his mustache. 

I walk back into the street, look to the woman, and point to the taxi driver. 

Me- "I just want you to know, that he refuses to take you because he wants to eat his sandwich." 

She had almost no reaction. I'm sure it was because she didn't have time for petty cabbie-doorman bullshit. I take out my notepad, and take down his medallion number "7A56". He sees me doing so, and gets annoyed. 

After a couple of minutes, I finally get her a taxi, and she tries to give me a tip. Imagine that? I have people ignore me after carrying twenty 150 lb. bags up to their room, and this lady, with her sick baby, still had the good nature to take care of the doorman. I refuse, and she shoves it in my coat pocket before getting into the taxi. 

For the next ten minutes, while this scumbag ate and smoked a cigarette, I pointed him out to everyone I spoke to while he chuckled and stared back at me. When he left, he pulled up about ten feet from me, with a smile: 

7A56- "You get my medallion number okay?" 

Me- "You bet your fucking ass I did." 

7A56- "Fuck you, fucking faggot motherfucker." 

As livid and disgusted as I was, I knew he was baiting me to come over and hit him. Believe me, I considered it. 

7A56- "You're a fucking doorman! And you always will be! Fucking faggot motherfucker!" 

He wanted me to hit him, so he could call the cops and claim that I assaulted him for no reason. A couple of years ago, the doorman from the hotel across the street was provoked by a driver, knocked him out, then went to jail and lost his job. As much as I want to get out of this job, I don't want to get locked up. I already had his medallion number, and was going to exploit it, so I opted to take the non-violent route - by waving like Forrest Gump when he see's Lieutenant Dan on the dock

Me- "Bye!!! Happy Thanksgiving!!!" 

He screams a few more things and pulls away. Fucking savage. It's the single-most despicable act of humanity that I've seen working this job. And believe me, I've seen some shit. 

Medallion # 7A56 

Fast forward two hours. 

We have an elderly woman that works for the hotel, "Ms. Joanie". She's the secretary to the GM, and has been working for the hotel for over fifty years. A few months ago, she fell while on a heater in Atlantic City and injured her hip. Now, when she leaves at 5:30pm every day, one doorman has to go upstairs with the wheelchair and bring her downstairs while the other guy tries to hail her a taxi. 

She could only manage to get into the older cabs that are lower to the ground, so getting her one is always an extravaganza. We never complain, because she's awesome and always appreciative. Once the doorman catches one, he holds the door open so the driver can't speed off. The other guy gets her and walks her down into the taxi. Depending on how she's feeling, it could take a few minutes. 

Most drivers will be patient once they see her come out. Sometimes they'll complain and we'll tell them to shut up. Every once in a blue, some asshole will try and steal it, which causes an all-out war. Today, it seemed like we were going to have no problems at all. 

I had just finished bringing her down in the wheelchair, after we chatted about which casino I should stay in when I go to AC with my buddies next month. She always recommends Trump properties. Once I got to the stairs, a Middle Eastern guy was walking out from the bathroom. He sees me and my uniform, so he asks for small-bills in exchange for a few twenties. I'm always looking for ways to dump my singles, and cabbies will almost always take them. 

We make brief small talk, have a laugh, then he heads out. 

Me- "Wait, buddy! Are you available?" 

Cabbie- "Yeah, boss! I'll pull up." 

Perfecto. He jogs out and gets his taxi, which is in the exact same spot as the scumbag from before. Other doorman opens the door and casually waits there without holding it, thinking that since we did him a favor and he was being nice, he wouldn't pull any bullshit. 

I get Ms. Joanie up, which nowadays is tough for her. She's hunched a little more wobbly than usual. 

Me- "You okay, Ms. Joanie?" 

Ms. Joanie- "Ugh... murder." 

That's her line for "I'm in a lot of fucking pain." 

She hands me her cain, and we slowly move down the steps. Just as we get to the bottom, I see the cabbie climb out the window, slam the door, and shoot up the block. Other doorman, startled, tries to grab the handle and pull the door back open, but it's locked. The cabbie gets about fifteen feet away, then stops for a guy with a suitcase. A suit, who is on his fucking cell phone. 

Ms Joanie- "Oh, that jerk!" 

Other doorman looks at me. After hearing the story from before, he knew that I was looking for an excuse to explode on someone. He takes Ms Joanie from me.

Other Doorman- "Go get em, cuz." 

I charge down the block like a raving fucking lunatic, with my black overcoat flailing in the wind like a cape. 

Cabbie is putting the suitcase into the trunk, and is terrified. The suit is in the backseat, yapping on his phone, too busy and important to realize that he just stole a taxi from an elderly woman. 


I screamed as many awful things as I could before he got in his car and pulled away. I took his medallion number down, and salivated at the thought of reporting two scumbags in one day. In my year in this job, I've only done it one other time, and that was to test the iPhone app I downloaded. 

Two fucking scumbags in two hours. Now, while I painted a pretty picture of what these guys deal with before, this is mostly the bullshit that I have to deal with when it comes to taxi drivers. 

A couple more hours go by, other doorman leaves for the day and I embark on The Lonely Road to Midnight. The only thing I was able to look forward to was my break, where I would put my iPhone app to good use and report these scumbags to the Taxi and Limousine Commission. 

A taxi pulls up, and the mother with the baby get out. I help them to the door, and she thanks me for helping her before. The baby was perfectly okay. Just a fever. I assured her that I would take care of the lowlife that wouldn't help her. She was appreciative, but again, I don't think she really cared about the petty doorman-cabbie bullshit. She just wanted to get her daughter inside. I held the door for them, and they disappeared into the hotel. When I turned around, the Middle Easter cabbie, who sped off on Ms. Joanie was standing there waiting. 

Oh, come on. I finally calmed down, and didn't need this guy coming back to fight me. I prepare for it, and I quickly turn to see if anyone from security is inside. They weren't, because security is never there when you need them to be.  

Cabbie- "You recognize my face?" 

Me- "Yeah, I do. I have nothing to say to you. Why don't you get in your taxi and get the fuck-" 

He puts his hands up. 

Cabbie- "No, no, no! Boss, please! Listen to me! I came here to apologize." 

Me- "Thanks. Now get out-" 

He extends his hand for me to shake. I don't accept it. 

Cabbie- "My friend, I've been doing this job for 17 years. That's never been me. I'm very very sorry. I saw the man with the suitcase, and I got greedy. I drove there and back, and I felt terrible. I know she was old. Please sir, I know what I did, forgive me. Please." 

He still had his hand out. I shook it. 

Maybe he was coming back to apologize because he saw me take down his medallion number and wanted to cover his ass. Maybe he was really sorry. For him to come all the way back here and let me know how guilty he felt, which probably cost him a few fares to get all the way back to midtown, it led me to believe the latter. He also had a sincerity in his voice that you don't usually hear from anyone, let alone a hustler that has to work out here and deal with the rest of the cash-hungry animals.

Cabbie- "Bless you, sir. Happy Thanksgiving." 

I'll take it. You rarely, if ever, see any humility out here. He left, and a part of me wished that I had apologized for erupting on him. Yes, what he did was awful, but I lost my fucking mind and screamed at him like he was the lowest form of scum on the fucking planet. Maybe another day. 

I eagerly awaited break time like a kid on the last day of school. When my relief came out, I hop, skipped, and danced to the break room and reported the scumbag that wouldn't take the baby. You're urged to keep your report as brief as possible, so here was mine: 

A bellman, who used to drive a taxi, told me what would happen to him: 

Bellman- "Yeah, you'll both get a letter in the mail to appear for a hearing in Queens. If he don't show up, he automatically fuckin' loses and it goes on his record. If you don't show up and he does, he automatically wins, but he's gotta sit there all fuckin' day and lose a day's work."

I have no plans of going to Queens to face this asshole in a hearing. As much as I'd love to see him get fired, severely inconveniencing him will have to suffice. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Revenge of the Doorman

Everyone loves a good revenge story - especially from someone as likable as me. I'd say about 90% of my doorman stories involves me being humiliated in some way, leaving you, the reader, wondering if I'm choking down a bottle of sleeping pills before bedtime. I'm in this for the material. I've had numerous opportunities to work inside as a bellman, leaving the door for good to make more money. But working inside as a bellman isn't as funny, and I'm not looking for a career in this field. Whenever I have a negative interaction at work, I get giddy because I know there's writing material in it for me, or at the very least, a funny tweet. I love writing about my misfortunes. It's cathartic. It saves me thousands of dollars on a therapist, because my union health insurance plan is fucking worthless.

While the writing part is fun, sometimes I reach a breaking point where I can't be disrespected anymore. I'm a human being, and a damn good one, mind you. I don't deserve to be treated like an animal. Sometimes, when there's nothing left to gain and I need closure, I will take vengeance on others. It's not the first time, and it will certainly not be the last:

It's 7pm, and one of our drivers pulls up, saying he has an "SUV job". And "SUV job" is a dick in the ass for the doorman. It means that the guest has too much luggage to fit into a sedan, so they have to pay extra for an SUV. The entire commission goes to the bellman that books the trip, and we're usually stuck carrying all the fucking bags out - usually for nothing. On top of that, when you hear "extra luggage", you know what's in store - fucking Brazilians.

I complain about Brazilians a lot. Ask any bellman, doorman, or guest service agent that works in New York City about Brazilians. They'll all scoff and present a thesis on why they are the worst people to deal with. I'll attempt to summarize it in two paragraphs:

Brazilians come to New York to do ONE thing - shop. That's it. They come here with ten massive empty suitcases, and spend two weeks shopping. They're one of the only countries on the planet that doesn't have a weight limit on suitcases when flying, so they shop and shop and shop and pack out these suitcases till they weigh close to 200 lb. And I wish I was just being a generalizing dickhead. I really do. But there has never been a group of Brazilians that have proved me otherwise. Sure, I've liked two or two of them in my year working this job, but even those people spent their entire trip on 5th ave and SoHo. It's incredible. They don't go to shows, they don't take tours, they don't go out to dinner. They just fucking shop for twelve hours per day.

On top of that, they are the most aloof, cold people I've ever come across. They're just as bad, if not worse, than the French. While the French are cheap fucking assholes, their sense of entitlement is nowhere near as bad as the Brazilians. French people say thank you when I hold the door for them. Brazilians will treat you like an indentured servant, and enjoy it. They understand tipping, but will make you understand that it is your privilege to receive their scrap money when they depart. And Portuguese... Jesus. I've heard people from Portugal speak, and it really isn't a bad language. A Brazilian speaking Portuguese sounds like a puppy being stabbed to death on Christmas morning. Just like us Americans have probably butchered the English language for the rest of the world, the Brazilians have done such for Portuguese.

Have I painted a good enough picture of the Brazilians? Good, let's move on...

It's 7pm, and the driver has a pickup for an SUV job. I take a stroll through the lobby, and see five Brazilians sitting in a circle, with eight large suitcases. Fuck. The leader of the pack has wheeled a computer chair over from the business center, and was sitting with his shoes off, feet up, on one of his suitcases. I knew it was them, and I was dreading this, because it wasn't busy enough to pretend to do something else while they struggled to get everything down the steps and out the door.

I called the name out, and sure enough, it was them. Shoeless Joe slipped on his Jordan's, snapped his finger, and pointed to the pile of suitcases he had waiting for me. Strike one. You don't fucking snap your fingers at me. Ever. And I know those are your bags, unless you put your disgusting, shoeless feet on someone else's luggage. Fuckface. He throws on his Louis Vuitton man bag and goes to the car.

They all pile out and watch me struggle with their countless luggages. I chew gum a lot, mostly to keep myself from ripping out someone's jugular. It's kind of like Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, where the masks keeps his pain at bay. The gum chewing gives me something to fixate on, and I was about to chew through the bottom of my face. Shoeless Joe put his man bag on the passenger seat, then went inside for a tinkle. The rest of the assholes packed into the SUV. No one had any money out, nor did any of them thank me for nearly giving myself a hernia.

I kept the door to the car open, so I could make every last effort to get a tip before they left. As I made my way back to the door, Shoeless Joe was standing there, with a carry-on bag, just waiting on the other side of the glass door. I didn't understand what he was doing. He had a smirk on his face and was looking at the door handle. We exchanged a stare-off for a few seconds before I realized what the he was doing.

He wanted me to walk over and open the door for him. A perfectly capable, grown man wanted me to walk all the way over there so I could open his door for him, one last time.

He tapped on the glass and pointed down. I scream "PUSH!" He doesn't do anything.

Strike two. And fuck it - three. I walk over and open the door. He smugly thanks me, then prances his way over to the car. No money in his hand, nothing. This fucker was not going to leave without me screaming at him. I was chewing my gum so hard that I started to taste blood.




I remember that he left his expensive, Louis Vuitton man bag on the seat. Quickly and discreetly, I take the gum out of my mouth and hold it in my hand. I scamper to the car door, where I distracted him by asking if he had the voucher that the bellman gave him when he booked the car. While he looked for it in his pockets, I looked inside to see the other motherfuckers in there, carrying on and celebrating their week at the land of a thousand department stores. My moment was here, and I seized it.

I put my gum on the strap on his man bag. He found the voucher, and jumped in, sitting right on top of the bag.

Worst case scenario:

He gets to the airport and realizes that his thousand dollar man purse is fucked up, along with his pants.

Moderate case scenario:

He gets to the airport and realizes that his thousand dollar man purse is fucked up, along with his pants, and he straps the man purse onto his shoulder, fucking up his jacket too.

Best case scenario:

He gets to the airport and realizes that his thousand dollar man purse is fucked up, along with his pants, and when he attempts to put the strap of the man purse onto his shoulder, the gum gets in his hair. Then he has to figure out how to get gum our of his pants, man purse, and hair while going through customs at JFK airport.

Every single one of those scenarios are fucking awesome.

I held the door open and, with the biggest smile ever, wished them a safe flight. Shoeless Joe's friend gave me two dollars after I stared at them for a solid ten seconds and refused to shut the door. Joe, on the other hand, was too important to look at me. Fine by me.

Just like the restaurant rule "you don't fuck with people who handle your food", you don't fuck with the doorman. Chances are, he has a big chip on his shoulder and is looking for a good story to write. Yes, I may be scum to you, Shoeless Joe, but this piece of scum just cost you over a thousand dollars worth of damages to where it hurts - your precious shopping. And hopefully your hair. I really hope it got in your fucking hair.

Nothing makes me laugh more than the image of him crying about his Louis Vuitton bag while his friend tries to cut gum out of his hair in the airport terminal. It makes me want to start a USA chant in a bar.

Score one for the Doorman.