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The longest-serving bellman at the Waldorf-Astoria recalls helping President Reagan

Jillali Elidrissi (center) has been a bellman at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel since April 1966.
Source: Jillali Elidrissi
Jillali Elidrissi (center) has been a bellman at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel since April 1966.

Jillali "Jim" Elidrissi, 70, has become a fixture of the Waldorf-Astoria.

He's been working at the iconic New York hotel for 50 years, making him the Waldorf's longest-serving bellman.

When CNBC asked Elidrissi about the best perk of working in a luxury hotel, he didn't have to think twice: "I meet a lot of top people."

He's met many movie stars, including Frank Sinatra, and the duke of Windsor. But his favorite encounter was with Ronald Reagan before he was elected president.

President Carter and Ronald Reagan at the Al Smith memorial dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria, Oct. 16, 1980.
Michael Norcia | New York Post Archives | Getty Images
President Carter and Ronald Reagan at the Al Smith memorial dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria, Oct. 16, 1980.

"He was running in 1980 against Jimmy Carter," the bellman recalled.

"I took his bags up and I say, 'Here you go, Mr. President. Welcome, Mr. President,' and he says, 'Not yet, Jim. Not yet.' And I say, 'No, no Mr. President — you're going to make it. When you become president after inauguration, send me a picture.' And he did."

Reagan not only sent a signed picture, but he returned years after his term and remembered the bellman by name.

On Reagan's second stay, Elidrissi recalled: "I helped him with his luggage, and he goes, 'You're still here, Jim!'"