One stormy night many years ago, an elderly man and
his wife entered the lobby of a small hotel in
Philadelphia. Trying to get out of the rain, the
couple approached the front desk hoping to get some
shelter for the night.
“Could you possibly give us a room here?” the husband
asked. The clerk, a friendly man with a winning smile,
looked at the couple and explained that there were
three conventions in town.
“All of our rooms are taken,” the clerk said. “But I
can’t send a nice couple like you out into the rain at
one o’clock in the morning. Would you perhaps be
willing to sleep in my room? It’s not exactly a
but it will be good enough to make you folks
comfortable for the night.”
When the couple declined, the young man pressed on.
“Don’t worry about me; I’ll make out just fine,” the
clerk told them. So the couple agreed.
As he paid his bill the next morning, the elderly man
said to the clerk, “You are the kind of manager who
should be the boss of the best hotel in the United
States. Maybe someday I’ll build one for you.”
The clerk looked at them and smiled. The three of
them had a good laugh.
As they drove away, the elderly couple agreed that
the helpful clerk was indeed exceptional, as finding
people who are both friendly and helpful isn’t easy.
Two years passed. The clerk had almost forgotten the
incident when he received a letter from the old man.
It recalled that stormy night and enclosed a
round-trip ticket to New York, asking the young man to
pay them a visit.
The old man met him in New York, and led him to the
corner of Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. He then
pointed to a great new building there, a palace of
reddish stone, with turrets and watchtowers thrusting
up to the sky.
“That,” said the older man, “is the hotel I have just
built for you to manage.”
“You must be joking,” the young man said.
“I can assure you, I am not,” said the older man, a sly
smile playing around his mouth.
The older man’s name was William Waldorf Astor, and
the magnificent structure was the original
The young clerk who became its first manager was
George C. Boldt. This young clerk never foresaw the
turn of events that would lead him to become the
manager of one of the world’s most glamorous hotels.
Author is unknown - Please comment if you know the author so credit can be given