Local celebrity Tom Sweeney, doorman at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel for 33 years, has to be hands-down the most photographed person in San Francisco.
That’s not all — Sweeney has also hobnobbed with presidents, saved a girl from drowning, run marathons in cities across America and appeared in the soap opera “The Young and the Restless.” He’s even told Joe Montana he was sorry but he couldn’t chat any longer because he had to get back to work.
Next month, the 52-year-old San Francisco personality famous for his beefeater uniform and mustached charm will add another adventure to his list: marriage.
On Nov. 21, the local icon will wed his longtime sweetheart, Cindy Passanisi. The pair met 16 years ago on a cable car and hit it off immediately.
“We just started talking and the next thing we knew we were going out,” Sweeney said.
On their first date, Sweeney took Passanisi out to dinner and then brought her to his high school reunion, where he says he introduced her to 600 of his closest friends.
Soon he had fallen in love not only with Passanisi, but also with her children, Greg and Erin. A few years later, all four were living together, but they were all so independent, busy and happy with the situation that marriage never seemed timely or necessary.
This year, Sweeney decided it was time to take the plunge. He popped the question the day after Labor Day.
“I got her a card and had her open it up, and it just kind of said, we’ve been together all these years, and the kids are through college, the house is paid for and the only thing missing is a wedding ring for you. So if you’d like to get married in November and the kids approve, let’s do it,” he said.
“She was definitely in shock,” Sweeney said. “She said yes, but I think it took at least three days for it to sink in.”
The wedding will be held at the chapel on Fisherman’s Wharf, followed by a very small reception. Passanisi also has a high-profile job and knows a lot of people, so the wedding will be immediate family only.
“Otherwise we’d probably have to rent out AT&T Park or something,” Sweeney said.
Even though he’s never stood at the altar before, Sweeney said he’s not nervous at all.
“She’s attractive, she’s very intelligent, she’s a great cook. She loves to travel and have a good time. The kids are great kids — very mellow,” he said. “And I figure we pretty much know each other by now, so it’s going to work out great.”