The general manager of DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Wichita Airport, Michael Phipps is a native of Ireland and one of the truly nice guys in Wichita. But his cheerful hospitality was severely tested in an earlier job.
He was the executive assistant manager at Chase Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis. The hotel was enormous, with 850 rooms, and he remembers hosting a massive convention of 3,000 teenagers for a week.
“My biggest problem was serving them 3,000 breakfasts, 3,000 lunches, 3,000 dinners every day, for seven days. That’s 63,000 meals in one week. We had refrigerated trucks with food sitting outside. What a nightmare. I slept maybe three hours a night for a week.”
He said that the week actually went surprisingly well and the lesson he pulled is that he could put up with teenagers.
“I’m still in the business,” he said with a touch of wonder in his voice.
He’s been at the Airport Hilton for 26 years, a fact he considers “kind of spooky.”