SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Tom Sweeney is well known to tourists and locals in San Francisco, thanks to the job he has held for four decades. The city’s famed “Beefeater” – the term referring to the distinctively-dressed Yeomen Warders at the Tower of London – is marking his 40th anniversary at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel this week.
Four decades is a long time to have any job, but the milestone is extra special for Sweeney.
“What’s so weird about this is that I took this for a summer job. I was just out of Riordan High School. I planned on doing this for about a year and I ended up doing 40 summers here at the Sir Francis Drake,” Sweeney told KCBS.
Sweeney had intended to become a policeman or a firefighter, but found that he loved his summer job as a doorman at the Sir Francis Drake too much to quit.
He’s chief doorman now and spends eight hours a day in his Beefeater uniform helping tourists check in, carrying luggage, and answering questions. Sweeney has a lot of memories from the years, including the day in 1981 when he took down a pair of thieves.
“They robbed some tourists checking in, they ran down Powell with suitcases. Luckily I was a middle linebacker in football and I’ve done 30 marathons,” Sweeney said. “So I ran down there, dove and tackled two of them at once. And they went to jail.”
Sweeney plans to hang up his Beefeater uniform and retire in 2020.