Guest banned for life because of “pepperoni and seagulls incident” granted pardon

Nick Burchill’s luggage, full of the meaty delicacy, attracted seagulls that destroyed his hotel room which led to a lifelong ban

It was a series of unfortunate events Frank Drebin himself wouldn’t be ashamed of. That’s how we can describe the business trip Nick Burchill from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, experienced 17 years ago.

Seagulls stealing pepperoni form his window caused Nick Burchill a life ban to Fairmont Empress — Shutterstock
Seagulls stealing pepperoni form his window caused Nick Burchill a life ban to Fairmont Empress — Shutterstock

The trouble all started when Nick was hired to work for a new company and travelled to Victoria for a business event with his new customers. As a coincidence, Nick used to serve in the Canadian Navy reserve in the area. So he got in touch with his former comrades and decided to bring them a special treat – pepperoni.

It was this mistake that led to his lifelong ban – one that led to the destruction of his hotel room by a flock of seagulls and that he has only just been pardoned for.

In his letter sent to the management of the Fairmont Empress hotel in Victoria, Canada, Nick finally apologised for the incident he was innocent of but could not explain at the time. He published the exact words to his Facebook timeline.

“I told my Navy buddies that I was coming out West and I was asked to bring Brother’s Pepperoni from Halifax. It is a local delicacy. Because this was the Navy we were talking about, I brought enough for a ship. In a hurry, I had completely filled a suitcase with pepperoni for my friends,” he wrote in the letter.

“I remember walking down the long hall and opening the door to my room to find an entire flock of seagulls in my room

Being wrapped in packaging, the sausages were supposed to survive at room temperature. However, Nick still had some time before he met his friends, so he decided to keep the pepperoni cool and go for a walk.

“My room was a nice, big, front-facing room on the fourth floor. It was well appointed, but it did not have a refrigerator. It was April, the air was chilly. An easy way to keep all of this food cool would be just to keep it next to an open window. I lifted one of the sashes and spread the packages of pepperoni out on the table and window sill. Then, I went for a walk… for about 4 or 5 hours.”

When he returned to his room, Nick realised that the meaty delicacy had attracted unwanted visitors to his window.

“I remember walking down the long hall and opening the door to my room to find an entire flock of seagulls in my room. I didn’t have time to count, but there must have been 40 of them and they had been in my room, eating pepperoni for a long time.”

Unfortunately, with a mix of wild birds and a meaty product that has some severe consequences for digestion, the outcome of the encounter was less than pleasing.

“As you would expect, the room was covered in seagull crap. What I did not realize until then was that seagulls also drool. Especially when they eat pepperoni.”

Nick then tried to get rid of the seagulls. Most of them escaped when he opened another window. The “less composed seagulls” tried to escape through one that was closed. This caused a ruckus, a mixture of floating feathers, excrement and pepperoni chunks, and severe damage to the room.

To remove the final gulls Nick smashed one with his shoe but, unfortunately, both the seagull and the shoe fell from the window.

Burchill believes the pardon was due to the pound of pepperoni he presented the hotel as a “peace offering”

Because Nick needed the shoe for the business dinner, he went out to pick it up. It was wet and he decided to dry it with a fan that he placed on a shelf. When he wasn’t looking, the vibrations of the dryer made it fall into a sink full of water and causing a large power cut.

Fairmont Empress representatives decided to lift the ban after 17 long years — Booking.com
Fairmont Empress representatives decided to lift the ban after 17 long years — Booking.com


That was the moment Nick realised he needed help.

“I called the front desk and asked for someone to come help me clean up a mess. I can still remember the look on the lady’s face when she opened the door. I had absolutely no idea what to tell her, so I just said ‘I’m sorry’ and I went to dinner. When I came back, my things had been moved to a much smaller room.”

“I thought that was the end of it all until I was told that my company had received a letter banning me from the Empress. A ban that I have respected for almost 18 years.”

According to Nick’s Facebook post, the Empress’s director of the rooms division, reviewed his plea and lifted the ban – a decision that Burchill believes was due to the pound of pepperoni he presented the hotel as a “peace offering”.

A spokesperson for Fairmont Empress told the Independent: “Fairmont Empress was as amused as everyone else to read the letter from Mr Burchill. His series of unfortunate events happened so many years ago, and we were happy to review Mr. Burchill’s letter and have since lifted the ban.”

“We look forward to welcoming Mr Burchill to Fairmont Empress again in the future, and since our $60m restoration in 2017, he will be delighted to know that the rooms have modern amenities and air conditioning to keep his pepperoni cool.”