A Love Story About an Open-Hearted Doorman

This New York Times Modern Love video is about the love between a woman and a man. A woman and her doorman, to be exact.

Writer Julie Margaret Hogben tells the story of her relationship with her building’s doorman Guzim. The two were friends, but he was also like a father figure to her. He would meet her dates in the lobby and stare them down for her before they went out. He would catch her eye to wordlessly let her know he didn’t approve of one of them.

Guzim was from Albania and spent 20 years of his life in a labor camp. He was also a very smart man: he used to be a chemical engineer, but when the Berlin wall fell and he got the chance to come to America he took the only job he could, as a doorman. “I am, how you say? Overqualified doorman,
Guzim puts it in the video.

Father figure love

Hogben says some of the other residents didn’t treat him with much respect but Guzim says his time in the labor camp inspired a mantra of no complaints.

Hogben met a guy at school that she found irresistible, a guy Guzim describes as being “a modern guy.” One thing led to another, and about two weeks later Hogben realized she was pregnant. Guzim was one of the first people to know. He told her about his sister’s pregnancy in the labor camp and how his older sister kept saying, “this is a gift.” So he said, “Julie, this is a gift.”

Hogben slowly told everyone including the father — letting him know he was off the hook — and then had her baby. Her parents took her home from the hospital.

Guzim was waiting at the door with tears in his eyes when they got home.

Bonus info: You can read Julie Margaret Hogban’s full story about her friendship with Guzim here.