Would you believe I have even another story about a coat check in NY? Yes, it’s true. I was invited to a cocktail party at Gordon Ramsay’s fancy schmancy restaurant. I had a lovely time. After my coat wreckage incident several weeks before that, I immediately checked my coat when I arrived.
When it was time to leave there was just one young woman working the coat check, and a line of people a mile long. People were getting grumpy waiting for their coats. As I got closer, I thought I saw the sleeve of my coat right within reach inside the coat room. I went to reach for it and once I was holding it realized it wasn’t my coat at all. I didn’t think I was really crossing the line when I went ahead and slipped inside the coat room to put the coat back. When I turned around to come back out, some man was impatiently waving his ticket at me asking me to get his coat ASAP.
I know that when most people watch I Love Lucy they think the zany adventures are too far-fetched to be real, but I never think that. I continue to live right in the middle of a weekly episode. Look, I could have told the guy that I didn’t work there and walked away. Considering I was wearing a cocktail dress you would think he would have caught on already, but I realized that when you’re inside the coat room people don’t even look at you, they just cram tickets in your hand.
I found myself feeling very sorry for the lone woman working the coat room, so I went for it. I took the ticket and asked the woman how the numbering system worked; without batting an eye or asking me what I was doing in the coat room she quickly pointed out the sections and numbers on each rack.
It took us about another 25 minutes to clear out the coat room. Some people snatched their coat right out of my hands and ignored the tip jar entirely. Other people thanked me and shoved a few bucks in there. My competitive spirit popped up and I found myself smiling and being more gracious to each guest in an effort to generate more tips. When guests didn’t leave a tip I would say “you’re welcome!” as cheerfully as I could muster. Jerks.
As the last few people left, the woman and I looked at each other and slumped down in the little metal folding chairs in the coat room. The woman asked me why I helped and I told her it just seemed like she could really use a hand. She thanked me and graciously offered to share the tips, but I declined.
I wandered outside and realized it had started raining, but I was miraculously able to catch a cab right away. Karma baby, karma.