Banned Hotel Guest Forgiven 17 Years After Pepperoni & Seagull Incident

An excellent reason to never your windows open.

By Ethan L. Johns
April 04, 2018

Image: Westend61/Getty Images

When we think of wild hotel antics, most of us would think of the rock and roll days of yore, when guitar heroes and drunken drummers would trash their rooms and throw their televisions out the window.

Nick Burchill, from Nova Scotia, doesn’t exactly fit this profile. Nonetheless, after an incident involving a suitcase full of pepperoni, a flock of seagulls and a flying shoe, he was banned from a luxury hotel in British Columbia—a ban that was finally lifted last month, after 17 years.

Burchill visited the Fairmont Empress in Victoria back in 2001 while on a business trip. He had buddies from the Canadian Naval Reserve who lived in the city, so he brought along a suitcase filled (and we mean actually filled) with Brothers Pepperoni—a regional specialty from Halifax. That suitcase got lost, so when it arrived, he placed it near an open window in the hopes that it would cool down a bit, since there was no refrigerator in the room.

He left the room for a couple hours, and when he returned he found that his room was filled with something like 40 seagulls, which had defecated and salivated all over the room, he wrote in a Facebook post.

Burchill attempted to shoo the birds out, as they crashed into walls, lamps and windows, creating a “tornado of seagull excrement, feathers, pepperoni chunks and fairly large birds.”

Frustrated, he threw his shoe at one. The shoe flew straight out the window. When he had removed all but one, he trapped the last with a towel and threw the towel out the window.

Tourists headed to the hotel’s high tea witnessed the whole thing from below.

After retrieving his shoe and blowing an electrical fuse with a hairdryer that he was using to dry it off, a horrified maid helped him with the cleanup. When he returned home, his employer showed him a letter from the hotel, banning him from staying there in the future.

On a recent trip, Burchill stopped by the Fairmont to make amends. Pound of Brothers Pepperoni in hand in lieu of an olive branch, he explained the story to hotel staff.

"I didn't like the feeling of being banned from somewhere," Burchill told the CBC. "So when I was out there last week for a different conference, I thought that I would approach The Empress and see if I could officially get my record cleared."

After 17 long years, the hotel forgave Burchill for his seagull sins, and encouraged him to return in the future. Presumably without the suitcase full of pepperoni.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns