By Elizabeth Czapski, Staff Writer
Dwight Jones, doorman at 400 E. Ohio St., said he has mastered the art of being a doorman. He better have—he’s been at it for 36 years.
Jones started out at the Whitehall Hotel at 105 E. Delaware Place, where he had to wear a top hat and white gloves. His colleagues there were the best of the best and taught him everything he needed to know to succeed, he said. The most important piece of advice he got was to always be prompt and well-groomed.
Guests on The Phil Donahue Show would stay at the Whitehall, and Jones said he met many famous people, including Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Pearl Bailey and Elizabeth Taylor. The most memorable, he said, was Paul Newman, who showed up with a U-Haul full of clothes and shoes. Jones and a maintenance man unloaded the whole thing and were tipped generously.
“[Newman] wore a lot of velvet,” Jones said.
After the Whitehall, Jones worked at the InterContinental training employees to be doormen. He, then he worked at a few different buildings before settling at 400 E. Ohio St., where he has been for 25 years.
A typical busy day involves “a lot of packages, a lot of greetings, a lot of smiles,” Jones said. Many of the building’s residents have lived there as long or longer than he’s been there. “It’s just like home,” he said.
Jones said he’s watched the neighborhood change a lot over the years. “I’m so proud of Streeterville, the way it came up,” he said. “Streeterville is the new big thing in Chicago.”
As a doorperson, Jones said he has to be ready for anything—and anyone. “You have to be in shape. You have to have a presence about yourself. This is not an easy task job. You have to be physically ready.”
In his free time, Jones likes horse racing—he’s been to the Kentucky Derby twice, he said. He also calls himself a “football addict,” adding that he’s played sports his entire life and loves the Patriots and the Cubs.
Jones also loves his job. To be a good doorperson, you have to “like what you’re doing, know what you’re doing, and be a professional,” he said. “If you don’t like what you do, you ain’t gonna survive at it, cause you’re gonna always think of problems to hate the job.”
To nominate your favorite doorperson, email email@example.com with the door person’s name and why you think they should be the doorperson of the month. Each winner will receive a $25 gift card to Mariano’s.