This story may sound like it’s for the birds, but a ban on a Canadian hotel guest whose room was trashed by a flock of seagulls 17 years ago has been lifted. Nick Burchill from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, was staying at the Fairmont Empress hotel in Victoria, when the unfortunate event occurred in 2001. Happily a “pardon” has been granted and he is once again permitted to stay at the hotel.
Posting on his Facebook page, Nick explained that he had just joined a new company and was attending a conference at the hotel, and was also meeting up with some buddies from the Canadian Naval Reserve. They asked him to bring some “Brothers Pepperoni” from Halifax – a widely-requested delicacy – and he filled a suitcase with it. There was no refrigerator in the room but the weather was chilly, so he spread the bags of pepperoni out on the table and windowsill to keep them cool and went for a long walk. When he returned, he found approximately 40 seagulls in the room having a feast, and they were startled when he walked in.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”
The last remaining seagull was large and panicking, so Nick wrapped a bath towel around it and bundled it out the window. It, and the towel, landed on tourists heading into the hotel below as did Nick’s shoe – the bird was thankfully unharmed. Nick tried to wash his muddy shoe off to wear at the conference dinner, but in a calamity of errors, as he was drying it, it fell into the sink full of water and knocked some of the power out in the hotel. Then Nick asked for help to clean the trashed room, and a visibly-shocked employee came to assist him. He was moved to another room and his company subsequently received a letter banning him from the Empress.
After 17 years, Nick wrote to the hotel and apologised for the damage he indirectly caused, and asked the management to reconsider his lifetime ban from the property. Happily, this seagull-induced saga had a happy ending. “Ryan, the manager has notified me verbally that I will once again be welcome as a guest,” Nick said, in an update to his Facebook post. “I bet it was the pound of Brothers Pepperoni that I gave them as a peace offering that did the trick.”