My New York upbringing made me cautious around strangers. I was surprised how much he opened up to me. After all, he hardly knew me. For all he knew, I could be an undercover detective.
I drove home, thinking about what he'd said. It still didn't make sense. How could anyone fall over those balcony railings?
Back at my suite, I showered and dressed. Not only did the hotel furnish our uniforms, they cleaned and pressed them too. I went to work in shorts or jeans and changed at the hotel. When I finished working, I just threw the uniform in a bin. I found it amusing. The uniforms were elegant and well maintained, but they were very different from my wardrobe in New York. The money I saved in cleaning bills alone could buy a family's groceries for a month.
Friday night in the hotel business was typically busy, so it was bound to be a long one. I didn't mind. I was used to late nights. Back in the city I was usually out late at least four nights a week, entertaining business associates, making sure they got what they wanted so, in turn, I could get what I wanted.
I realized more and more how similar this new life was to my former life. These minimum-wage coworkers of mine were no different than I was in New York, and the guests here were like the business associates I had. In the city I often went to extremes to accommodate clients if it meant closing a deal. New York was an exciting, glamorous town, but it took someone who knew his way around to get to places tour guides couldn't provide. Clients wanted to be wined, dined, and entertained. I saw to it they had reservations at the best out-of-the-way places and, if they wanted, beautiful young women on their arm to escort them. Afterwards, at their plush hotel suites, they could cap off the night in the lap of luxury with a sexy lady who would fulfill their wildest fantasies, all at my expense.
Here the demand was not as great, but the principle was the same. Sending up a complimentary bottle of Dom Pérignon to a guest's suite while he's entertaining a secret lover might mean a twenty or thirty-dollar tip. For me, as for those people, the rewards were different but equally important. Tips were the name of the game in this business, not the minimal pay.
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