From NY Post:
Nice doormen finish last.
Ralph Body was booted from a luxe Long Island City apartment building — for being too accommodating to its well-heeled tenants, he told The Post.
Body, 41, said he “gave his life” to the glimmering Queens tower called 27 on 27th ever since it opened two years ago a few blocks from the East River.
He didn’t just hold the door. He did anything and everything residents asked him to do — check on pets, clean litter boxes, water plants, hold packages, even show $4,200 apartments to new tenants if need be, he said.
“Everything I did, somebody asked me to do, or there was a need for it,” Body said.
But the door suddenly slammed shut on the collegial “Melrose Place”-like atmosphere last Sunday, when the staffing company that placed him at the posh building told him “upper management” wanted him out, he said.
“They said, ‘We know you did it for the right reasons, but unfortunately . . . you’re too nice to the tenants.’”
He tried to plead his case: “I told them, ‘When the tenants ask me to do something, I’m going to say yes.’
“But they said, ‘You do things for them which you shouldn’t be doing. And unfortunately, in this case, nice guys finish last,’ ” he continued.
Body said he was “shocked” at being shown the door — and so were tenants who are now rallying to bring him back.
“Going above and beyond your work duties shouldn’t be punished — it should be praised,” reads a petition to reinstate Body. “We stand with Ralph.”
It goes on: “Most tenants . . . can attest to Ralph’s kindness and eagerness to make people feel safe and welcome. In a transient city where most people are from other states and countries, 27 on 27th was a unique building that truly felt like ‘home’ from the moment you stepped through the front doors.”
Residents told The Post that Body was one of the main reasons they chose to live at the 27-story building, which boasts dazzling views of Manhattan, a yoga room, gym and game and film rooms — but competes with similarly outfitted towers rising in Queens.
“Ralph made this different than other luxury buildings,” said the tenant who started the petition, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution from building management Heatherwood Communities.
A paper petition that the petition organizer left in the lobby mysteriously disappeared the next day, the tenant noted. “I would definitely have to think twice about my [lease] renewal now,” the resident said.
Tenants blamed Heatherwood for Body’s removal — not staffing company PBS Facility Services, which Body said has promised to find him work at a different building.
But for now, the only door he’s opening is to his apartment in the West Village. “They said I have to sit tight and wait,” Body said.
In an e-mail to tenants obtained by The Post, Heatherwood says there has been “misinformation” about Body’s removal.
“It was recently brought to our attention that Ralph did not follow PBS’s policies and procedures and after being spoken to several times, it was their decision to reassign him to another building,” the letter reads.
But residents aren’t buying it.
“Heatherwood wants impartial professionalism,” said tenant Dr. Michael Dardano. “I don’t want to live in an environment like that — where there are robots at the front desk.”
Heatherwood refused to comment.
From The Washington Post:
Shanna Tippen was another hourly worker at the bottom of the nation’s economy, looking forward to a 25-cent bump in the Arkansas minimum wage that would make it easier for her to buy diapers for her grandson. When I wrote about her in The Post last month, she said the minimum wage hike would bring her a bit of financial relief, but it wouldn’t lift her above the poverty line.
She called me the other day to say she didn’t get to enjoy the 25-cent hike for long. After the story came out, she says she was fired from her job for talking to the Post.
I spend a lot of time writing about people at the low end of the economy, and I see up close how narrowly they get by day-to-day. In this case, writing about Tippen’s plight may have made her situation worse.
Tippen says she was fired by her boss, hotel manager Herry Patel. Earlier that day, Patel had called The Post to express frustration that he had been quoted giving his opinion about the minimum wage hike. (He objected to it.)
It was soon after, Tippen says, that Patel found her in the lobby and fired her.
“He said I was stupid and dumb for talking to [The Post],” Tippen said. “He cussed me and asked me why you wrote the article. I said, ‘Because he’s a reporter; that’s what he does.’ He said it was wrong for me to talk to you."
A man who sounded like Patel, reached recently at the Days Inn, declined to comment in several separate phone calls. On one call, the man said he’d never met Herry Patel and did not know who he was. On another call, he threatened to call the police if “you keep bothering us.”
(Several hours after this story was published, Patel called the Post and contested Tippen’s version of events. He said that Tippen was not fired, and instead walked out on the job after a disagreement. Patel said that he’d approached Tippen to ask about her past criminal record, which was described in the original Feb. 17 article.
Patel said he would not rehire Tippen because of the way she’d spoken to him during the dispute. “She walked out herself,” Patel said. “I didn’t fire her.”
Tippen, in a conversation Monday evening, reaffirmed her version of events. She said that Patel never questioned her about her criminal record and that the two spoke heatedly only after she was fired.)
Initially, Tippen was uncertain whether she wanted to publicly share the story of her firing, but she decided to because she feels increasingly desperate. She lived paycheck-to-paycheck during her two-plus years at the Days Inn, and now, she and her family are living off a recent tax refund check that won’t last past March. Tippen says she’s looking for another job but hasn’t found one yet.
“As of now, I’m looking for any kind of job at all,” she said. “Flipping burgers. Cleaning. Anything. It doesn’t matter.”
Wyndham Worldwide, which operates the Days Inn brand, said in a statement that “while we do not control or oversee staffing decisions at our franchised locations, we do require that each independently owned and operated hotel comply with all local, state and federal laws, especially as it relates to employment practices. While we can’t speak to the specifics of this or any particular situation at a franchised location, please know that ours is an organization which values and respects the contributions of all associates and that we encourage each of our franchisees to do the same.”
Patel introduced Tippen to me. During a trip to Pine Bluff, Ark., in mid-January, I went to numerous businesses across town and found Patel in the hotel lobby and introduced myself. There, I interviewed him for several minutes. Patel then suggested I speak with Tippen, who was cleaning up the continental breakfast bar. I interviewed her during her work shift, during a slow afternoon as she manned the front desk.
Several days later, after I’d spent additional time with Tippen, Patel called me and threatened to sue if an article was published. Tippen, though, felt it was important to tell her story; she said many people shared her experience earning the minimum, and she had nothing negative to say about her employer.
From Huff Po:
Marilyn Hartman doesn't let a little thing like airport security get in the way of her travel plans.
Dubbed the "Serial Stowaway," Hartman has been arrested several times for attempting to sneak onto flights across the country or loitering at airports without a ticket. This time, the 63-year-old Californian allegedly got past security and took a flight from Minnesota to Jacksonville, Florida, and checked into someone else's hotel room, Fox News reports.
She was charged with impersonation, defrauding an innkeeper, and trespassing, Nassau County Sheriff's deputies said Monday.
Investigators say Hartman boarded a flight in Minneapolis-St. Paul to Jacksonville Sunday without buying a ticket. When she landed, she allegedly boarded a shuttle bus to the swank Omni Amelia Island Plantation Hotel, where she fibbed her way into a $300 villa.
The jig was up hours later when the real guest arrived, but Hartman disappeared when hotel staff tried to contact her, according to USA Today. Police found her on Monday, reportedly in a ground-floor room that was under renovation.
At this point, Hartman is a skilled stowaway.
Cops say she violated her probation terms that were handed down in August after she tried four times in one day to sneak onboard a flight from San Jose to Los Angeles. She succeeded on the fourth try by sneaking through security checkpoints with a family.
That arrest didn't stop her, either. The following day, security found her wandering through terminals without a ticket at Los Angeles International Airport. She was sentenced to 117 days in jail for violating probation, but was shortly released due to jail overcrowding.
Then, four days later, she was found by airport security -- in Phoenix -- wandering around the terminals without a ticket. She was slapped with a trespass warning, but she was later arrested for again attempting to hang around the airport.
The Transportation Security Administration is investigating how Hartman was able to get on Sunday's flight in Minnesota and others.
Lawyers have said that Hartman is a loner who has no family or kids, and have requested mental health evaluations in the past.