I WATCHED Mike Skira search through the bag room for a violet suitcase. A French guest who was a regular at the Plaza had left it there while he got something to eat, and he watched, too. The poorly ventilated room was crammed with bags, shelves and shelves of them, more variety than I had ever seen in any luggage store. Skira was methodical. He picked through some alligator luggage, a bagful of stuffed giraffes and weasels, a couple of Saks Fifth Avenue shopping bags.
Finally he found what he was looking for. He smiled and patted the bag as if it were a favorite dog. The Frenchman grabbed hold of it, mumbled some appreciative words, and stuffed a folded $1 bill into Skira’s palm.
Mike Skira, the day bell captain, was short in stature, tall ...