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  • My husband was cleaning out the drawers of the grand desk in our room and asked if I wanted to keep this.

    Wow. This was just over 15 years ago. So many things happened in 2000. I got married with 9 guests, took a black cab to the venue, Marc took the bus and I threw my flowers in the road outside the Marlborough Head pub; a scamper of women in the midst of black cabs.

    I love London.

    I read this note again and it was the year Elizabeth Taylor and Julie Andrews were made Dames.

    Saying that the hotel was an understatement.

    Telephone Operators are at the bottom of the food chain in the hotel business; always was and always will be. It's all about pre-conceived ideas of the position.

    Nowadays you walk into a room and there is wifi. Well, back then, if you wanted a computer line, you had to make this request at booking stage! Remove the desk phone,three pages of programming to convert the line to an analogue dial up connection, change the Class of Service.... I know when the zombies attack, I'll be able to hot wire shit, I swear.

    I loved it.

    The year before, I was washing clothes in a concrete sink in my parents' garage and here I was with Sir Elton John, Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Julie Andrews....all on the phone, calling to congratulate each other and leaving messages and it was surreal because it wasn't a one off, call after call was someone I had only seen on television. We had to keep it professional. We could not ask for an autograph. We could not talk to the press.

    And we were disciplined back then. We kept our promise, to our guest and to our employer.

    Incognito meant incognito.

    The things we know.....

    When this note arrived in our office, the overwhelming feeling that permeated every living cell in your body was a mixture of relief and accomplishment.

    For a brief moment, someone saw you in the basement room that had no windows.

    I think the biggest star during that time though, was our manager Sue Carroll. She put up with so much. When I think back, there are many things I could have said and done differently. I'm sure all of us feel like that. Little did we appreciate at the time, was that, it was her incredible leadership that got us this note and many other similar.

    When I became manager, only then did I understand.

    I wonder now, who stays in the suite with the pink marble in the bathroom. Dame Elizabeth loved that. I can picture her in my mind's eye, stealing a sideways glance with her violet eyes and pulling down her stole to reveal her perfect neckline, before stepping out into the barrage of flashing cameras.
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