Around the year 1900, an elderly couple from New York
entered a hotel in Philadelphia late at night during a heavy
storm, asking if they could get a room. The young clerk at the
desk explained that there were currently three conventions in
town, and all the rooms had been booked weeks in advance. "But
I cannot send a nice couple like you out into the rain again past
midnight," he added. "Why don't you stay in my room, if you don't
mind, and don't worry about me, I can stay with a friend." The
people were very grateful and the husband said, "We need people
like you who are imaginative and helpful. You should be the
manager of this hotel. One day, I will build a hotel for you and
make you its manager." The young man thought this was a good joke
and laughed heartily.
Two years later, he received a letter from that man,
inviting him to come to New York on a given train. When he
arrived, the couple met him and walked with him to the corner of
Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. The old man pointed to a great new
building of red stone and said, "This is the hotel I have just
built and I want to make you its manager."
The older man was William Waldorf Astor, and the hotel was
the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The young clerk who became
its first manager was George C. Boldt. He had never foreseen the
turn of events that would lead him to become the manager of one
of the world's most famous hotels.