The Worst Hotel Guest Ever Banned Due to Seagulls and Pepperoni

Seventeen years ago Nick Burchill was banned from ever staying at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, British Columbia.

In 2001 Mr. Burchill had just started working at the company he still works for. He attended a conference at the Fairmont as his very first work event.

He was in the Navy Reserves and some of his navy buddies asked him to bring “Brother’s Pepperoni” out from his home town in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He did. A lot of it. He “completely filled a suitcase with pepperoni” — some of it was wrapped in plastic, some in paper, and the airline lost his bag.

The next day he got his luggage, with food in it. To “keep it cool” after it had traveled in luggage for more than a day he opened the windows in his hotel room. And he left the room for more than four hours.

Credit: Fairmont Empress

When he returned to the room a flock of seagulls were inside (he says at least 40 seagulls) and they had been eating pepperoni. Seagulls do not digest pepperoni well. So you can imagine what happened next in the room.

They immediately started flying around and crashing into things as they desperately tried to leave the room through the small opening by which they had entered.

Less composed seagulls are attempting to leave through the other CLOSED windows. The result was a tornado of seagull excrement, feathers, pepperoni chunks and fairly large birds whipping around the room. The lamps were falling. The curtains were trashed. The coffee tray was just disgusting.

I waded through the birds and opened the remaining windows. Most of the gulls left immediately. One tried to re-enter the room to grab another piece of pepperoni and in my agitated state, I took off one of my shoes and threw it at him.

Both the gull and the shoe went out the window.

He ‘jumped’ the last seagull in the room with a bath towel, grabbed it, and threw it out the window. Only “seagulls cannot fly when they are wrapped in a towel.”

Several people entering the hotel were struck by the man’s shoe flying out the window and then by the seagull wrapped in a towel.

He went downstairs to get the shoe. He needed to wear the shoe so he washed it in the bathroom. He dried it with the hair dryer. The hair dryer fell in the sink and fried the power.

The hotel moved him to a different room while they cleaned. And they asked him to never, ever return. However he asked for forgiveness and 17 years later the Fairmont has lifted his lifetime ban.

(HT: Jeff Edwards)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Probably one of the funniest posts I have ever read on this blog. My wife and I are still laughing.

  2. Very funny indeed … but why his navy buddies asked him to bring “Brother’s Pepperoni” from his home town Halifax? Is the product strictly sold in his hometown? Or, was this related to some kind of prank, hazing ritual, etc.?

  3. Fried pepperoni is a late night Halifax pub classic, the best is made from Brother’s. Just like Taylor ham is a New Jersey specialty. So as others have noted, there was no pizza involved.

  4. I do think it is lame that Mr. Burchill called housekeeping to come clean up the mess, and then left when she arrived. He should have stayed to help clean up his mess. And it was his mess, not “the damage I had indirectly come to cause”.

    If I were the manager, I would have left the ban in place just for that.

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