by Mat Cohen
Arte Brinson is accepting the Doorperson of the Month Award on behalf of the whole team at 540 N. Lake Shore Drive. “They could’ve made this phone call to the paper for any one of us,” he said. “I’m not the only one that deserves the recognition.”
But February is Brinson’s month to shine. He entered the army at 17, was honorably discharged at the age of 19, and began working at the postal service in 1984 when he was 24 years old. Thirty-six years later he retired.
However, it wouldn’t be for long. Brinson’s brother-in-law, who was working at 540 N. Lake Shore Drive, urged him to take an open position at the building. Brinson started a part-time job there 13 years ago, but eventually picked up more hours and has been the head doorperson for seven years.
“Customer satisfaction is number one,” he said. “There will be times when a person is expecting a piece of mail and they don’t get it or a person is expecting to get on the elevator and it’s not working. It’s all kinds of ways we have to make sure they get what they’re asking for.”
Brinson is a problem-solver who enjoys playing chess. In his free time, he and his wife check out new restaurants. He also enjoys a challenge.
“Sometimes people come and they are irritated,” he said. “I challenge myself to change that state a little bit so the person feels better about it. Sometimes you can’t fix the issue, but you can make the person feel that you’re trying to fix it and it’ll make them feel better.”
He loves his job because of the people he deals with and the relationships he’s built. “They have to go past me,” he said. “I want to think they enjoy the interactions that we have, how little they may be.”
Brinson said watching newborns grow to teenagers has been meaningful for him. The families in the building, mixed with the fact it was an old motor factory, gives a different flavor to the place than the usual high-rise in Chicago, Brinson said.
But without a doubt, Brinson adds a little bit of his own flavor on top. “It’s good to have some fresh people, see some fresh faces. But overall It’s a good flow,” he said. “It’s a good job to have, a very underrated job to have.”