LAURIE is no ordinary hotel employee. He comes to work at 5am for a 6.30am start to greet guests at The Langham, Melbourne's grand entrance.
According to staff and guests, he is consistently cheerful, courteous, inquisitive and always smiling. Laurie, 66, has been the much cherished doorman for 21 years and will retire at the end of the year.
The hotel is now actively searching for a replacement for Laurie. Applicants must have an upbeat, can-do attitude, be friendly and able to work outdoors in Melbourne's unpredictable weather.
"To replace Laurie will be difficult as he is such as an integral member of the Langham family," said managing director Ben Sington.
"However, we are optimistic that there is a like-minded individual out there who will step into Laurie's role."
Originally from Malta, Laurie moved to Australia in 1982. He inherited his love for hospitality from his family, with his four brothers and father all working in hotels in Malta. In fact, his father worked in the same hotel for 35 years.
Laurie's normal work routine is to arrive at 5am and have a cup of tea while reading the daily newspapers.
He regards his most unforgettable moments there as:
- When he had a chat and photo taken with former US president Bill Clinton, the photo was featured in most broadsheets in 2011.
- His encounter with Elton John in the early 1990s when they talked about the singer's inspirations for his songs.
- Meeting Andy Gibb of the Bee Gees and the singer opening up to him about the loss of his brother and giving Laurie and his wife front row seats at his concert in Melbourne in 2013.