Even during a phone interview, Jim Loyd is in complete control. It’s nothing new for him to be a leader—after all, he spent 38 years in the public service sector, including stints as an EMT and a police officer. In his roles as evening manager, night auditor and director of security for Hotel Teatro, Loyd is a multitasker who has learned to expect the unexpected.
Take the night of Tuesday, 26 January 2010, for example. That’s when Loyd saved the life of a Hotel Teatro guest in distress by practicing what he preaches at the downtown Denver luxury boutique hotel.
Loyd joined the hotel staff in mid-2008 as it was preparing for the Democratic National Convention to be held in Denver.
“David Craig, our GM, hand-picks the staff, and it’s all geared toward taking care of guests,” Loyd said.
While working the front desk during his 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift, Loyd took a wake-up-call request from guest Jack Bartnett. A couple of hours later, Loyd met Bartnett in person.
“He had laid in his bed for about 90 minutes, dealing with pain in his shoulder and arms,” Loyd said. “He was headed outside to get some fresh air, but instead of turning to go outside, he turned and came around the corner where I could see him. If he had turned the other way…
“He knew he needed help, and he made the right choice.”
Bartnett leaned against the wall, and Loyd sprung into action.
“It was second nature, even though it had been years since I had done any kind of triage or profile,” Loyd said. “I immediately knew he was in trouble.”
Loyd sat Bartnett in a chair to make him comfortable. The guest complained of extreme tightness in his shoulder and arms.
“He was cold and clammy, and I knew he was potentially having a heart attack,” Loyd said.
Loyd gave Bartnett a sip of water, asked night bellman Kyle Broughton to run for some aspirin, and called 911.
“I was able to give them very specific, very direct issues that were going on in front of me,” Loyd said. “They trusted my ability.”
Because of that direct approach, the Denver paramedics responded within about six minutes.
“That’s what made the difference,” Loyd said. “Within moments of getting to hospital he flat-lined. He was almost DOA.
“The extra three or four or five minutes that we gave him ... I’m very proud of that.”
Bartnett hadn’t lost consciousness at the hotel. Loyd didn’t need to perform CPR, but his calm approach made the difference. And that’s the lesson to which Loyd can most relate.
“The best advice I would be able to make, and it goes to any kind of crisis for hospitality staff, is you have to take a deep breath and tell yourself to stay calm because it literally is a life and death situation,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be heart attack victim. It could be an armed robber, or a pregnant lady giving birth. You have to think through the circumstances. If nothing else, think, ‘I have to stay calm, I have to call 911 that has access to people that have knowledge and expertise and get somebody to me quickly.’
“If you call dispatch in a crazy tone of voice and throwing things out, they’re going to question your ability to know what’s going on, and that could cost somebody their life,” he added. “Calmness should come with the territory. If we are handling guests’ needs, don’t we have to be calm?”
That’s spoken like a true professional who we can all learn from.