I have worked at the entrance to the Athenaeum hotel for the past 24 years and have relished every minute of my career. I never planned to be a hotel doorman… I started out as a porter at the Waldorf because my brother was working there and I needed some money after leaving the army. After two months, they asked me to work on the door and I’ve never looked back.
Lots of smart hotels used to hire former army personnel because of the way they carry themselves – very upright. I’m tall at 6 foot 6 inches and have always been very self-conscious, but when I’m in my uniform I instantly exude confidence and humour that I don’t possess in the real world.
I have greeted everyone from Maggie Thatcher to Nelson Mandela – he was a lovely man. When he left the hotel, all of the police and film crew were outside waiting but he turned his back on the lot of them to shake my hand and thank me. Quite often the barrier is broken between doorman and guest. Over the years some of our regular guests have eventually become friends.
One thing many people don’t know about me… Wearing layers is the best way to stay warm when you are standing outside for 12 hours a day, I’m often wearing tracksuit bottoms under my smart trousers in the winter!