Frank Doll, the storyteller, is born |

Frank Doll, the storyteller, is born

Shirley Welch
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyFrank Doll didn't set out to become the Hyatt's storyteller. He initially approached the management for a donation for the Eagle County Historical Society.

Eventually, it was time for Frank to retire once again. He ended his tenure with the Eagle-Vail Golf Course in 1989, and did a little of this and a little of that, spending time with the Eagle County Historical Society in Eagle where he became the chief fundraiser for the organization. From time to time, Frank would peruse the help section of the wants ads, just to see what was going on. For several months, Frank noticed an ad looking for a storyteller for the Hyatt Hotel in Beaver Creek. He didn’t pay it any attention.

Then one day a friend of his with the Historical Society asked Frank, “Have you thought about inquiring about the job as the storyteller with the Hyatt Hotel?”

“No, I haven’t,” was Frank’s reply.

“Well, you should. Here’s the phone number.”

So out of curiosity Frank decided to give it a try and called the number. He was put through to a young woman who sounded as though she could have been his granddaughter. He inquired about the job.

“Have you submitted a resume?” the woman snippily asked.

“No, and I’m not going to.”

That was the end of that conversation.

About this time Glenwood Canyon was gearing up for the monumental task of building I-70 through the canyon with four lanes. Many entities were involved in the planning stages, including the Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado Department of Game and Fish, Colorado Historical Society, Southern Pacific Railroad, and the U.S. Forest Service. The Eagle Historical Society was also involved, and during this time, Frank met a woman who worked for the Forest Service who took people out for hikes and helicopter rides to explain the geology of Glenwood Canyon. This woman had a PhD in geology and was a smart woman. One day after work, they chatted in the shade of the Historical Society building. Frank lamented the situation that the Historical Society had no operating funds.

She asked, “Have you gone and talked to those people up at the Hyatt Hotel about a donation? I think that hotel would contribute.”

He answered, “No. I haven’t.”

“Well, give it a go.”

Frank thought it over for a few days and then decided to see if he could get an appointment with Steve Dwyer, the manager of the hotel. He called Steve’s secretary, Becki, and was told in no uncertain terms, “Mr. Dwyer is very busy man.”

“I won’t take much of his time, I promise,” Frank replied.

Becki paused and then said, “OK, I see an opening where I can get you in to see Mr. Dwyer for 10 minutes.”

“That would be dandy,” Frank said and decided he had better be on time for his allotted ten minutes with Mr. Dwyer.

So on the day of the appointment, Frank arrived at the Hyatt Hotel in Beaver Creek exactly five minutes before his scheduled 10-minute meeting with the hotel manager. The hotel was huge and tended to upscale tourists. Mr. Dwyer’s office was bigger than any office Frank had been in, and at this point, Frank was a bit intimidated but he tried not to show it. Right on time, Frank was ushered into Mr. Dwyer’s office. After Frank introduced himself and gave a little background of his history in the valley and his work with the Historical Society, and how Beaver Creek played in the history of the country and how that history needed to be preserved and would the Hyatt think about donating to the Historical Society. On several occasions, Frank checked his watch, but Mr. Dwyer didn’t seem in any hurry and Frank continued to talk about old days and life in Beaver Creek and in the Vail Valley.

“Your family settled Gypsum?” Steve asked.

“They sure did. My grandfather’s brother, Sam, wandered into the valley after the Civil War, after gambling in Leadville and then meeting Jake Borah, the guide who took Teddy Roosevelt on a two-week hunt.”

“That’s incredible. What else?”

Frank continued to tell Steve about his family’s origins and threw in a few colorful stories of cattle and horses and prospecting. Again, Frank checked his watch. He had now been in Steve’s office for more than an hour and a half.

Finally, Frank folded his hands on his lap and said, “So what do you think?”

Steve sat back in his chair and smiled at Frank.

Frank noticed the broad smile and said, “Why the big grin? Did I say something wrong?”

“You know what?”

“No, what?” Frank shot back.

“I think you are just exactly the person I am looking for to be the storyteller here,” Steve said.

“I thought we were talking about a donation to the Historical Society?”

“Oh, that, too. I’ll make sure you get a check, but I want you as the Hyatt Hotel storyteller.”

Frank frowned. “I already talked to some sweet little thing about that and she wanted my resume and I said no thanks to that.”

“I’ve got your resume, Frank,” Steve said, his eyes bright. “You are your resume.”

“I don’t know anything about working in a big hotel.”

“You don’t have to know anything about working in a hotel. You have to know about people and about history and you have to know stories. I think you are my guy. Go home and talk to Imogene. Come back in two weeks with an answer for me.” Steve got up and held out his hand.

Frank got up and took Steve’s hand and decided right then he liked a man with a hearty handshake. When he left the office, it had been more than two hours. Frank had met with Steve to discuss a donation for the Historical Society, but ended up talking his way into a job that would last a decade and a half.

So Frank went back down the hill and talked to Imogene about starting yet another career. As he made more inquires about the nature of the job as storyteller at the Hyatt Hotel, Frank learned that the Hyatt had advertised all over the United States for their storyteller. After accepting applications with resumes, they had narrowed the search to six finalists. These finalists were brought to the Hyatt Hotel and told stories to the managers. One man was selected from these six.

He lasted one week.

The problem was that the job had two parts to it: one was to tell stories by the fire pit in the late afternoon outside the lobby: the other was to then move inside and mingle with the guests. It was this second part that the chosen applicant could not do. So he was fired.

Thus, the Hyatt Hotel was without a storyteller when Frank talked to Steve Dwyer, and by the time Frank returned to talk to him, he had decided that if the Hyatt wanted to take a chance on Frank, well, he could darn well tell stories and he sure did know how to mingle with people. After all, he had been doing it his whole life.

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