A Canadian has been ‘pardoned’ by a luxury hotel for the damage that was caused when a marauding flock of angry seagulls ransacked his room in search of pepperoni 17 years ago.
Nick Burchill from Nova Scotia was staying at the Fairmont Express Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, when ‘a string of unfortunate events’ led to him being banned from the hotel in 2001.
According to a Facebook post, the issues started when he brought a case of Brothers Pepperoni, a delicacy of the area, back to his hotel room. He was intending to bring it to his friends in the navy on the west coat of America.
As it was April, he didn’t want to leave the meat out in the room, fearing it would spoil, and opened the window so the air would keep it cool. ‘I lifted one of the sashes and spread the packages of pepperoni out on the table and windowsill. Then, I went for a walk… for about four or five hours,’ he wrote.
In the widely shared post, he describes what happened next. He returned to the room to a scene of devastation. ‘An entire flock’ of seagulls were in his room and had been eating the pepperoni, which as it turns out ‘does NASTY things to a seagull’s digestive system’.
The startled birds ‘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 said.
‘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.’
He opened the window wider to let them out and, luckily, ‘most of the gulls left immediately’.
However, a few particularly greedy birds weren’t yet ready to give to give up on the pepperoni feast.
Burchill continued: ‘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.’
With only one avian impostor left in the room, a piece of pepperoni still clasped in its beak, Burchill lost the plot and ‘grabbed a bath towel and jumped it’.
‘It [started] to freak out, so I wrapped it in the towel and threw it out of the window,’ he said. ‘I had forgotten that seagulls cannot fly when they are wrapped in a towel.’
Both the shoe and the towel-wrapped seagull struck a group of tourists queuing for the hotel’s afternoon tea. The seagull was unharmed.
Although glad that his room was now seagull free, Burchill realised that he had an important business dinner in a few minutes and was without his shoe.
He retrieved both the shoe and the towel from outside, both covered in mud. However, his situation further deteriorated when in washing and blow-drying his shoe, he knocked the hairdryer into the sink and caused a power outage in the hotel.
Finally defeated and accepting that he needed help, he called housekeeping to help clean up the mess in his room.
He said: ‘I can still remember the look on the lady’s face when she opened the door.
‘I had absolutely no idea what to tell her, so I just said “I’m sorry” and I went to dinner.’
Soon after the incident, the company he worked for received a letter stating that Burchill was no longer welcome to stay at the hotel.
Seventeen years later, he sent a letter asking for the hotel’s forgiveness, along with a pound of pepperoni for good feelings.
He wrote: ‘I have matured and I admit responsibility for my actions. I come to you, hat in hand, to apologise for the damage I had indirectly come to cause and to ask you reconsider my lifetime ban from the property.
‘I hope that you will see fit to either grant me a pardon or consider my 18 [years] away from the Empress as “time served”.’
The Empress’s director of public relations confirmed that the tale was true and was well-remembered by long-serving hotel staff, saying: ‘It’s one of those things where you can’t make this stuff up.’
Burchill has stated that he was delighted that he ‘got the pardon [he] was looking for’. He commented: ‘They have been great sports about the whole thing. I don’t think I would have been as gracious.’
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.