Randy worked at a fancy hotel which had once been a mansion owned by Vanderbilt or Rockefeller, Randy was never sure. He tended the bar; one of those high-end affairs with shiny countertops and premium wines and liquors on offer. There were no brawls or open mic nights and the guests often came dressed to the nine. It was the place Irving Berlin imagined when he wrote “Puttin’ on the Ritz”.
The hotel lounge was between the five-star restaurant with its fusion menu and award-winning chef, and the gilded ballroom—only used on special occasions—which had big glass windows and French doors that led out to a veranda facing the hotel’s beautiful ample gardens.
The veranda served as a bridge between the gardens and the building, and a small tunnel ran underneath it which led to the service entrance. Randy was there waiting for the delivery of an important order of wine and liquor glasses; only the best quality crystal for the guests.
The delivery went smooth, the order was correct and the delivery men left the crates of glasses at the service entrance. Randy had to carry each crate to the kitchen. Most days he would have taken them up through the service elevator but it needed repairs and the manager had instructed him to carry the crates to the veranda and through one of the ballroom’s French doors left open for him. The ballroom was closed to the guests.
Randy carried the crates one by one. He was strong, but he had to be extra careful since they contained everything from wine glasses to high-ball tumblers. It was heavy work, but Randy didn’t mind. At last he lifted the final crate—champagne flutes—and made his way up to the veranda where he found himself face to face with a bull.
“What the…?” He stopped and stared. The bull glared at him right back. It was on the lawn and Randy’s only choice was to cross the veranda and into the ballroom. It grunted.
Randy angled himself slowly and prepared to run. He still held the crate of champagne flutes in his arms which tinkled as he moved. The bull snorted and lowered its horns.
“Whoa, bull, easy,” Randy whispered. Did commands for horses work on bulls? Maybe not, because the bull pawed the ground and dirt flew behind it. It grunted again.
Randy sprinted across the veranda, the glasses in his arms jingling and jangling like sleigh bells; the clatter of the bull’s hooves at his heels. He made it through the open ballroom door and with a quick kick of his heel closed it behind him. He took a few more steps and glanced over his shoulders. The bull was still charging and Randy heard the crash of breaking glass as he dashed across the room. Randy ran through to the bar and hunkered behind the counter, the crate still in his arms, his heart beating a mile a minute.
The security guys, two big muscular men, burst through the door to the ballroom and, upon seeing the bull which had crashed through the French doors, ran back out again.
Wussies, thought Randy. He put the crate on the floor and peeked over the counter. The bull was in the ballroom swaying from side to side, dazed and dizzy.
“That’s what you get when you charge through glass doors,” muttered Randy. The bull gave a one last grunt and laid down, legs folded beneath it.
“Not so tough now, huh?”
Randy picked up the phone on the wall and called emergency services. Animal control took the bull away. When asked how he’d reacted, Randy said, “I hoofed it.”
The manager congratulated Randy for his courage, presence of mind and for not breaking a single glass and rewarded him with a raise. Randy earned the nickname ‘Torero’ and shouts of “Ole!” followed him throughout the hotel for months. The hotel replaced the French doors with the insurance money and since then, guests and staff alike refer to the ballroom as ‘The Bullroom’.
It’s a mystery how the bull came to the hotel. Some say it escaped from a farm, others from a rodeo. The most inventive say it appeared from another dimension, but to every doubting Thomas, Randy says it’s no cock-and-bull story.