A swanky hotel in British Columbia has officially lifted its ban on a former customer who caused a notorious incident 17 years ago involving a suitcase full of warm pepperoni and a flock of seagulls.
Back in 2001, businessman Nick Burchill checked into the Fairmont Empress in Victoria with a suitcase stuffed with Brothers TNT Pepperoni, a delicacy from his home city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, which he intended to give as a present to some friends during his trip. The room didn’t have a refrigerator, so to protect his precious meat cargo, Burchill decided to let the pepperoni rest on a table near an open window, where it could be caressed by the chilly April air. The traveler then decided to take a walk around the neighborhood, and returned to find his room full of seagulls who were feasting on the pepperoni.
“The seagulls were flying everywhere and they had been there for a long time eating Brothers TNT Pepperoni, so you can imagine what the room looked like even before I came back,” Burchill tells CBC. “And now we’ve got seagulls flying around, the curtains are falling down, the lamps are falling down. It was a real mess.” He estimated that “somewhere between 30 and 40 seagulls” were cavorting around his hotel room.
Burchill managed to usher most of the birds out of the room, but two of the gulls just didn’t want to leave, so he threw a shoe at one of them and wrestled the other one with a towel and chucked it out the window. The plan worked, although both his shoe and the hotel towel also went out the window in the midst of the commotion. After retrieving his footwear, Burchill tried to use a hairdryer to clean some of the mud off his shoe, but this move actually shorted out the power in his room.
The frazzled businessman call the front desk to ask for some help with the cleanup, but the hotel employee who arrived at his room was not pleased by what she found there. “She had her cleaning kit with her and it was quite clear that the kit that she had with her was not going to cover the damage and the mess that was in that room,” Burchill explains. The hotel let him switch rooms, but after he checked out, the Fairmont management informed Burchill’s employer that he was no longer invited to stay as a guest there on future trips.
The ban remained in place until earlier this year when Burchill decided to send a written apology and pay a visit to the Fairmont Empress while in town on another business trip. Although the employee that helped him with the cleanup from the pepperoni-seagull incident was no longer working there, several workers had heard about the episode from other staffers. Burchill gave the staff a package of Brothers TNT Pepperoni as a peace offering — and his plan worked.
“I’ve made friends with one of the managers there and he’s made it quite clear that I’m encouraged to stay with them,” Burchill explains. “They’ll be disappointed if I don’t.”
• How seagulls, pepperoni got Dartmouth man banned from posh B.C. hotel [CBC]
• Nick Burchill [Facebook]