Even In New York
I used to be a security guard at a high end, 5-star hotel. One night the lobby bar manager called me to notify me of a trio of young people in their 20’s, who were there for a photo shoot, and had brought their dog into the bar.
Due to sanitation laws, dogs were not permitted in areas where food is served. In fact, dogs were not permitted in the hotel at all — a policy that is explained during the room booking process. There were two males and one female. The girl had snuck the dog into the hotel in her purse. The lobby bar manager had let them know the policy. They refused to leave despite being told that they could return without the dog and in proper clothing.
I walked up to the lobby and immediately knew who was causing the issue. The two bespectacled “men” were attempting to swill champagne from the bottle — despite being given glasses. The female had the dog in her lap. All of them were wearing pajamas. It was 9PM.
I approached them and asked them if they could leave. Unfortunately, dogs are not permitted in here and we also have rules regarding attire, I politely explained. In order for us to maintain our standards of excellence we asked that they comply and they were welcome to return once they did.
“Oh is this how things are done in the IGNORANT south? Because where WE are from, this is how things are done!” the woman sneered.
“I am from Ohio and I understand how policies work.” I retorted.
“Well WE are from NEW YORK. Are you familiar?”
“Yes, I have been.”
“Well in NEW YORK, people are sophisticated. We don’t have to adhere to these kind of rules. In fact, I am not leaving, not even if you call the police.”
One of the men stood up, as if to challenge me. I did not move.
I think that once he got up and realized that his 150 lb frame was about half my size, he decided to not further the issue. He returned to his room, saying nothing, head hung low. Her and her friend remained.
I told her that if they did not leave that, yes, I would have to call the authorities. I told her I am not a fan of cops but I am also not into being disrespected.
I don’t know that they expected me to call their bluff because they angrily gathered their items before telling me that I had to send up two bottles of wine to their room for the inconvenience. “We are from NEW YORK after all.”
I never sent a fucking thing.
Obnoxious people like these always made me hesitant to pull the trigger on moving to New York. I had been to Brooklyn once in my life and was into it. It seemed working class, like me.
After years of toying with it, I finally made the move to New York. I was so accustomed to Southern congeniality that I was genuinely worried about being annoyed with New York elitism, like what I had experienced from those jerks at the bar.
Just the other night a lady who was lost approached me and a buddy in Manhattan. She was looking for a street in the West Village. In the process of asking us, 3 more people approached and also offered her directions. In one instance, 5 New Yorkers of varying backgrounds, cultures and economic plights made sure this older lady found where she had to go. In fact, this is how almost all of my interactions in New York happen. No one is “mean” so much as they are “busy.” Everyone in New York has been just as nice as people in the South. Sometimes more so.
That moment the other night made me recall the incident from the hotel. In my time here, I have rarely experienced someone with that level of entitlement about themselves — unless they are a comic.
But it goes to show that people, real working people, aren’t always that different from one another and that common courtesy is still alive. It also goes to show that assholes can be everywhere too — even in NEW YORK.