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William May, the Famous Doorman at the San Francisco Fairmont

Most people only notice service when it’s bad.

Because when it’s good, every need is anticipated so you never have to ask for anything.

William May prides himself on that kind of outstanding service.

For 26 years, he’s been the main doorman at the world-famous Fairmont San Francisco, the grand hotel where kings, queens and every U.S. president has stayed.

For many guests, he’s the first face to greet them when they visit San Francisco, setting the tone for the rest of their stay.

You might not think the position of doorman anything exceptional. But May has turned it into not only a skill, but an art form. In the process, the 60-year-old May has become as much of a  celebrity as the 105-year-old hotel atop Nob Hill, itself.

What’s more, on his days off from his demanding, full-time hotel job, he’s also managed to earn a bachelor’s of English from the University of California at Berkeley and to finish up a paralegal degree.

Learn more about this remarkable man and what a typical night is like working the entrance to the Fairmont in my profile story of him in the new issue of Food Arts magazine.

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