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One of a Select Few

A Waldorf Story by Jim Aimers

In January 2013 my partner and I decided to treat ourselves to a weekend in NYC at the Waldorf. I remember a nice room with a fireplace and a doorbell—the first time I’d seen one at a hotel. After a day of museums and a night singing show tunes at Marie’s Crisis we arrived back at the Waldorf, happy and exhausted.

But that didn’t mean I stayed in bed all night. I’m a sleepwalker, and around 4am I walked out of the room while sleeping. This was not a new experience for me, so when I woke up standing outside the locked door, I just began knocking and ringing that handy doorbell. But, my partner sleeps like the dead and after a few minutes—realizing I’d disturb other guests—I resigned myself to make my way down to the lobby for help. Unfortunately, I was wearing only boxer shorts and a t-shirt.

I found that even at 4am the lobby of the Waldorf is a busy place. I took my place in line behind well-heeled travelers up early and not afraid to give me the old side-eye. Fortunately, when I got to the desk, the person there acted as if absolutely nothing was unusual. He politely informed me that I’d have to be accompanied to my room by a bellhop and show ID when he let me into the room.

As I stood in the elevator beside the tall, handsome bellhop in his fabulous uniform I asked him: “I guess you don’t get many guests in the lobby in their underwear at the Waldorf, do you?”

I’ll never forget his deadpan reply: “You’re one of a select few, sir.”

Now that’s service, I thought, remembering staff laughing in my face during a similar incident at a hotel in St. Louis.

As we approached the room, I noticed a house phone in the hallway. Of course I had missed it earlier. Make a note of that for next time, I thought.