Familie Goodfriend und Enzo Baciocchi
Regular hotelguests from the United States and Concierge
It is the summer of 2012. You, Diva Goodfriend-Koven, are a well-known American concert flautist and longstanding 25-year member of New York's Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Owing to a professional engagement in Lucerne, you're staying with your son Muir at the Hotel Schweizerhof. You've been harbouring a particular long-standing desire – one that you now reveal to our highly experienced concierge, Enzo Baciocchi: «Excuse me, but would it be possible to find my son and me a Sennenhund, a Bernese Mountain Dog?»
The concierge nods and smiles: «Mrs. Goodfriend, no problem. We will buy you the finest cuddly toy dog Lucerne has to offer.» However, you shake your head: «Not a cuddly toy, Enzo, a real live Bernese Sennenhund puppy. We'd like to take it back to New York with us.» After a brief pause, the concierge agrees to look into your unusual request and begs to be allowed a little time.
Enzo Baciocchi hails from the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, the Ticino; he has spent more than 36 years working in the finest hotels, the last 25 years as a concierge at the Schweizerhof Lucerne.
His job is to ensure the wellbeing of the guests: organise transfers, buy flowers, arrange doctors' appointments, reserve the best seats at concerts and book tables at restaurants – all that and more forms part of his daily routine.
He's never been asked to go out and quickly find a real live dog for a New York family before. And yet: «Nothing is impossible!»
Thanks to the internet, Enzo soon finds a farm above Sarnen, a village not far from Lucerne, which has a Bernese Sennenhund for sale. The sellers are at first sceptical about allowing the dog to make the journey to New York; numerous telephone calls later, however, they relent. You can barely believe your luck, but there's one cloud on the horizon: «That's fantastic, Enzo! But how are we to get to the farm?» «I think it's best if I drive you there,» replies the concierge.
That's a relief. You are grateful for his generosity with his time. Shortly after 4 p.m. you reach your destination on a hillside above Sarnen. The deal, however, is not yet done: the farming family appears far from ready to part with its cute little puppy. There are tears. You're glad that Enzo is there. He translates, he negotiates and he reassures.
The farmers finally come round to agreeing the sale, and you're allowed to leave with your new family member. Once a vet has issued the necessary papers, you return to the hotel as it gets dark. During the drive back, little Luca, as the puppy is called – LU stands for Lucerne, of course – relieves himself in Enzo's car. «Luca, bad boy,» your son scolds the little rascal lovingly.
The concierge remains calm. He's glad to have been of service.
The next day finds the little Bernese Mountain Dog from Sarnen making the long trip to New York with you.
On your arrival back home, you immediately reach for pen and paper: «Dear Enzo, thank you so much for helping us get a dog. (...) Thank you for your great generosity of time and patience with researching this new addition to our family! We hope that (...) if you and your family ever come to N.Y., you will look us up in Harlem! (...) Best wishes and gratitude!!! Diva Goodfriend-Koven and Muir Ingliss».
One thing is clear: if ever another guest expresses the desire to acquire an animal, Enzo Baciocchi, a concierge by conviction, will ask in all seriousness: «cuddly toy or real?»