Customers, family offer poignant tribute to ‘nomad’ Waldorf Astoria waiter who dedicated his life to serving guests

A restaurant worker known for “watching” and “listening” has died after a decades-long battle with cancer.

Elidrissi, nicknamed “Waldorf Bellhop” for his inquisitive mannerisms, died on Wednesday at age 74, his widow Brenda told Fox News. He endured a number of medical issues, including several strokes and high blood pressure, for more than 30 years.

He had talked with earlier this month, commenting on his unique position and how he could be a “valuable” “resource” for many people with questions about restaurants.

“I could ask them all kinds of questions,” he told “If a person has any questions, just just tell them the way to go in. That’s all I could say. I can see they are happy because they can ask a question and get some information.”

Elidrissi worked at Waldorf Astoria restaurant since he was a teenager, beginning in 1972.

“I always saw myself working in a restaurant and that is what I have been doing,” he told “It’s a family business and I have always supported it.”

At the Waldorf Astoria, Elidrissi’s friendship with guests inspired the name.

“[The guests] are looking for a real human touch,” he told “So, they were always in the restaurants looking for someone they could help.”

Elidrissi did more than greet guests. He also stayed on after customers had left, helping their tables with clean linen or tableware.

“People came in from out of town and we take care of their service,” he said. “I am here 24 hours.”

One guest, Gerry Hale, a grandfather and legendary musician, spoke with about how Elidrissi comforted him, helping him feel comfortable in the restaurant.

“He started talking to me when I was out of breath and he just bought me a few shakes and cookies from the bakery that was near the restaurant to make me feel better,” Hale said. “I took the box of cookies and put them in my mouth and made myself feel better.”

The Waldorf Astoria Restaurants has been operated by the Swiss-born Heineken family since 1983.

“Although he was not able to actually participate in the day-to-day management, his legacy will be with us forever,” Joachim Mueller, Chief Operating Officer of the WASTOR family, told “He will always be in our hearts and minds as he was at the very core of this family’s endeavor.”

Elidrissi is survived by his wife, Brenda; his daughter, Blanche; his son, Cory; and two grandchildren.’s Maggie Gallagher contributed to this report.

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