Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Mistakes can cost you.

Sometimes, small mistakes that cost you a lot.

You must decide how much Nick Burchill suffered over the last 17 years for his, well, catalog of misjudgment.

His is torrid tale of carelessness and painful happenstance.

As he explained on Facebook, it all began in 2001. 

His company -- for whom he still works -- was hosting a conference at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia.

He was also in the Naval Reserve. So when his seafaring friends discovering he was arriving, they asked him to bring some Brother's Pepperoni from his home in Halifax, Nova Scotia. A fine delicacy this, so I'm told.

The airline temporarily lost the bag in which the pepperoni was kept. 

Burchill, though, was convinced that, once the bag arrived, the sausage would be fine.

But then he realized he didn't have a refrigerator in his room. So he laid the pepperoni out on a table and the window sill and went for a walk.

Oh, and he left the window open.

Let's cut to Burchill's own words.

I returned to the hotel. I remember walking down the long hall and opening the door to my room to find an entire flock of seagulls in my room. I didn't have time to count, but there must have been 40 of them and they had been in my room, eating pepperoni for a long time.

And somewhere, Alfred Hitchcock giggled in his tomb.

Those of a delicate disposition may choose to look away now. Or merely scroll a little further down.

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. 

And then he threw a shoe at a seagull to get it out of his room. 

The shoe ended up hitting guests who were having High Tea below.

Things got worse. No, really. 

He tried to dry his shoe with a hairdryer, but left it to answer the phone. The hairdryer fell into the sink and knocked out power in a substantial part of the hotel.

You will turn into Lot's Wife when I tell you that the hotel wrote to Burchill's employer and explained that he was banned.

Burchill's Facebook post took the form of a letter that he actually sent to the hotel, after all these years.

The hotel seems to have been moved by it.

You might think this is all an April Fool's nonsense.

But the hotel's PR director Tracey Drake -- so sad she's not called Tracey Seagull -- told me that it's absolutely true.

On a recent trip to Victoria, Drake said, Burchill spoke with Ryan Rearden, the hotel's Director, Rooms Division. Once his ban was lifted, Burchill gifted the hotel with some fine pepperoni.

Drake added: "We look forward to welcoming Mr. Burchill to Fairmont Empress again in the future, and since our $60M restoration in 2017, he will be delighted to know that the rooms have modern amenities and air conditioning to keep his pepperoni cool."

It is, of course, heartening to know that the hotel management has a heart. And a feel for good publicity, of course.

I imagine Burchill's next stay at the Empress might be quite an occasion.

Perhaps the hotel might slip this dish on the menu: Roast Seagull With Turnip.

Published on: Apr 5, 2018
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