Holiday Angels: Tom Sweeney

The Examiner celebrates people who made a difference in 2006.

Occupation: Doorman of 30 years at San Francisco’s Sir Francis Drake Hotel

Residence: San Francisco

What he does: Tom is a jack-of-all trades — he assists guests with their luggage, provides valuable information about The City to tourists and locals, and is one of the most photographed persons in San Francisco. He has even fought crime: In 1982, while wearing his beefeater’s uniform, he chased two thieves who stole a guest’s luggage. The robbers were apprehended, the guests got their possessions back and the hotel sent him to Mexico as a token of its gratitude. On that trip to Mexico, he saved a girl who was drowning in the Pacific Ocean. To honor him, Sweeney was awarded the Highest Bravery Award from then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein.

Why he does it: “Because I love meeting new people from all over the world,” Sweeney said. “I love being able to help them and telling visitors all about what I believe is the best city in the world — San Francisco.”

The impact: “Tom makes every guest who comes to the hotel feel special,” said Lisa Kershner, the hotel’s general manager. “He has a remarkable memory and remembers everyone. People love coming back to the Sir Francis Drake and seeing a friendly face to greet them. And he also has an endless knowledge of San Francisco, and guests love his local insight.”

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