Conde Nast Traveler has a great piece out in which they interview Jalali “Jim E.” Eldrissi, who has been a bellman at the illustrious Waldorf-Astoria hotel for 50 years.
Jim has seen some crazy things during his time at the Waldorf. He was on duty during the New York City blackout in 1979, and spent 26 hours straight guiding guests up and down the stairs of the hotel with a flashlight. Jim remembers the times when bellhops at the Waldorf were called “boys” by the guests and when every guest was referred to by “sir” and “madame” exclusively.
Working at such a lux hotel, Jim has had his fair share of brushes with fame. He’s been an extra in films starring Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro, but his favorite celebrity encounter was with Ronald Reagan. When Reagan was running his first campaign in 1978, he stayed at the Waldorf and was entertained when Jim referred to him as “Mr. President.”
Jim’s story is a reminder of how many stories lie within the hospitality establishments that strive to make our travels as smooth as possible.
Read the full article here: 50 Years and 9 U.S. Presidents Later, a Waldorf Bellman Tells All