Secret Hertelier: the day I met...
My mornings began early, seven days a week I walked the halls, the public areas and chatted with the morning shift. It was not unusual for me to get a call from the boss in the corporate office, “ Morning” he started, without having to say his name or fuss with niceties. “Meet me at eight in the breakfast room, I need you to take good care of someone.”
Someone, would be Teddy. Later in the day I would look Teddy up and breathe deeply when I read he was the revered unification master and mayor of Jerusalem. “Make sure Teddy gets his usual apartment on the 7th floor, he likes the smaller ones on the inside of the building.” Teddy’s history was well documented. He had done and experienced life in a way I couldn’t begin to fathom. Later, after he finished his bagel, I walked him to the elevator and then up to his apartment, brass key in hand. “I’ll be having several visitors during my stay this time, but is it possible for you to announce them first and accompany them up when they arrive in the lobby today and tomorrow?” While I hesitated only a second to respond, I did have to quickly consider the rest of my activities and other guests, but then, who could say no to this man….He grinned broadly, running his hand through his hair, and wished me a good day as I secured his door.
The first snow of December floated as if kissing the pavement outside the glass doors of the lobby. Most guests were either readying for a night out at their prized upper East Side restaurant or already sitting at our bar, martini’s in hand. It was twilight and the marble lobby with all its subtle cracks and signs of famous feet was quiet and still as I stood near the bell stand enjoying the moment.
The doorman had just gone on break when a gentleman dressed in a floor-length cashmere black coat, stepped out of the evening and into the lobby. He was so striking with his hair of platinum, a white silk scarf around his neck, and his stride that was sure and focused, coming directly towards me. Face to face, he asked my name. “Happy to meet you,” he offered, “Teddy told me to ask for you.” I am not easily fazed by the importance or the notoriety of people but found myself, well, tight in the chest ….maybe even light-headed. “Of course, let me ring Teddy and announce your arrival, then I will take you right up to him.” “Teddy, sir, yes, you have a visitor. Oh, sorry, one moment."
He couldn’t possibly be. He is just too perfect, too beautiful. He looks sooo much like him…. “Sir, may I ask your name?” The tiniest of smiles, just at the very edges of his mouth, “Yes, let Teddy know it's Paul Newman.“
When Teddy opened his door, they embraced warmly, thanked me, and turned to settle in for their chat. Heart thumping, taking air in deeply, I took the inside stairs rather than the elevator, back down to the lobby, and stood once again in my high heels on that hard marble floor transfixed in place. Like a statue.
The skin on my face was still burning, I am sure I was as red as the snow outside was white when he stepped out of the elevator an hour later and once again approached me. “Is everything okay…I hope you had a wonderful visit with Teddy.” “Yes,” he said, “but I have to share something with you. I honestly cannot remember the last time anyone has asked me my name.” His smile so bright, his well-known eyes, so azure as he turned and glided out the glass doors and into the night.