Meet the Grey Eagle concierge who moonlights as a movie stunt double
When he's not working at the casino, he hangs with Oscar winners on movie sets
Shane Hoof's ability to make people feel welcome is no stunt.
Hoof was one of several Calgarians recognized by Tourism Calgary this week for going above and beyond expectations to provide visitors with a memorable experience.
About 7.7 million people a year visit Calgary, contributing $2 billion to the local economy, according to the agency.
Among those recognized Wednesday were hospitality workers from a variety of sectors, including exceptional servers (Jenny Gulaga from Port O'Call), the airport (Keirstyn Secord, WestJet-Airports YYC), housekeeping (Bozena Andryka, Azuridge Estate Hotel), and hotel reception (Jeannette Mortensen, Hotel Alma at the University of Calgary).
"For over half a century, the Calgary White Hat Awards have celebrated remarkable members of Calgary's tourism industry who demonstrate what it means to be ultimate hosts," said Cindy Ady, Tourism Calgary CEO, in a release.
"Their collective enthusiasm, civic pride and commitment is infectious and contributes significantly to Calgary's visitor economy and growing reputation as the ultimate host city."
In Hoof's case, the recognition of his efforts came from far and wide.
"As a First Nations member of the Blood Tribe who is well-respected within the Tsuut'ina Nation, Shane's humility and knowledge of First Nations cultures and traditions is a true asset," wrote his peers in the concierge industry.
Hoof's boss at Grey Eagle, Kevin Yates, put it more succinctly.
"He has such charisma and personality — what it takes to be hospitable to people, you can't teach it, you've gotta have it," Yates said.
Hoof was cited as exceptional for his work as a concierge at the Grey Eagle Casino, but he also provides exceptional service promoting Calgary when he works as a stunt double for Alberta's film and television industry.
That includes films such as The Revenant and TV series such as Fargo, Hell on Wheels and The Alienist.
But despite rubbing elbows with Hollywood royalty like Leonardo DiCaprio, Dakota Fanning and Casey Affleck, Hoof doesn't distinguish much between how he treats Hollywood big shots on set and ordinary folks looking for a restaurant recommendation at the Grey Eagle concierge's desk.
"I like to go over, above and beyond for everybody that I ever meet on work and off work," Hoof said in a Thursday interview with Rob Brown on The Homestretch.
"I always treat everyone the same," he said. "I always take care for whoever they are and wherever they come from — a long trip or short trip."
Hoof said his hospitable temperament was inherited.
"Mainly from my parents, but also the respect of my people. You know, I have to follow in the lines of my ancestors of being peaceful and caring," Hoof said.
As far as working as a stunt double, that grew out of Hoof's tendency to enjoy a little physical risk from time to time.
"When I was really young, I was doing stunts for free, and when my parents found out, they wanted me to do stunts for profit," he said.
Besides his work in film and TV and at the casino, Hoof is also working with the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada to create videos.
"We're just going to show everybody in the hotel hospitality industry respectful ways of greeting and interacting with the native people and Indigenous cultures," he said.
"Basically … giving them that greeting and showing them that we still recognize the first people of this country."
Hoof hopes to eventually produce videos exploring different cultures and languages across the country.
"All over, concierges of different cultures," Hoof said. "We're just trying to make a video on how they can actually learn and do their research on the regions of their hotel, and then in doing so, we can help them find the languages and all the greetings and all the customs for every different region of Canada.
"It's all about making people feel welcome."
With files from The Homestretch.
Files from Susan Holzman