The Hat Boy



The power of location and connection may be naturally very marked in some people; but in the matter of memory, this power can be developed to a surprising degree by habit and use and one can educate himself to acute observation.  In employments where its use is much required, it becomes almost a special attribute of mind.  A striking example is here given, from a New York paper, of what is called “ “The Hat Boy Faculty”:--

There is a special line of work required from hotel employees, which needs the extraordinary powers of memory.  The ‘Hat Boy’ who succeeds in the metropolitan hotel in filling his place acceptably is sure of a berth for life.  In all large hotels of the city, the hats of the guest are likely to be left in a room adjoining the dining room and they ae left in charge of the hat boy.

“Perhaps the most remarkable of all the hat boys in New York is a little man who has charge of the hats of the guests of the Fifth Avenue Hotel.  He is small and wiry, and seldom seems to take his eyes from the racks, which line the ante-room on either side.

“When he takes a visitor’s hat, he glances at his face carelessly, and puts his hat on one of the several racks.  When the man comes out of the dining room an hour or two later. The boy picks out his hat without a moment’s hesitation, and hands it to him.  Often he has from three to four hundred hats on his rack at one time, and in the course of six ears he has never been known to make a mistake.  The hats look very much alike, and it is a mystery to the majority of diners how he remembers their faces and their hats at the same time.

“The attendant was asked, a night or two ago, how his memory served him in so many cases, and he said,--

“I don’t know. It seems to come natural.”

“Do you pick out some particular feature on the wearer’s face by which you can fix him in your memory?”

“Oh no; that would never do.  I remember the face itself.  I look along the rack, and I seem to see the face that fits ever hat, and when a man come out, I got to the hat that is associated with his face naturally.  It doesn’t make any difference whether the man has his hat on when he comes in or not.  He hands it to me, and I look at his face, and somehow I cannot forget it.  The gentlemen of the house often try to fool me, but they have never succeeded in catching me in a blunder.  For instance, sometimes two of them will come in looking somewhat alike, and wearing hats that are exactly the same pattern.  One of them hands me the two hats.  When they come out, I give them each his hat separately.  I never give the wrong hat to the wrong man, although I had no – positive proof which man owns the particular hat.’”



Youth’s Companion