Super Senior: Danny O'Sullivan

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Right away there are two things you notice about Danny O'Sullivan-- his Boston accent and his gift of gab.

"Let me shake hands with my friend," Danny said, greeting a guest.
"Do you play baseball?" he asked another. "I met Ted Williams in person."

If the Sheraton in South Burlington was a city, Danny would be the mayor. Everyone is his friend. He's been in the hospitality business since he was a young man.

"Back in Boston, Joe, I was king of Huntington Ave. I would stand out there and it was my avenue," Danny said.

He worked with his father, Bill, at some of the most exclusive hotels in Boston. Sully Sr. was the bellhop.

"He said, 'Danny, you be yourself and the rest will follow, nobody will catch up to you,'" Danny recalled.

With his bright red hair and green uniform, Danny stood out. He became a favorite with hotel guests like Vice President Walter Mondale.

"Here he is shaking hands with me," Danny said, showing a photo.

He worked side by side with his dad for 24 for years until his dad retired.

"He was my true mentor," Danny said.

For the happy-go-lucky Bostonian, life took a turn for the worse.

"When I first lost my father and then I lost my mother six months later, and I asked him, please don't take my wife," Danny said.

Renee had cancer. She battled it for 18 months.

"I never thought it was going to happen but she passed on," Danny said.

They had no kids, just a dog named Daisy.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Did you think kind of life was over?
Danny O'Sullivan: Kind of, I did.

The next week after the funeral, Danny was back at the hotel, outwardly smiling but inside he was very lonely.

"I know I would get out of work after spending it at the Colonnade and sometimes I would look at the phone and I'd only wish that phone would ring," he said.

Relief came not from a phone call, but a letter. Mary Jane Walsh, a Burlington resident and a longtime friend, sent Danny a condolence note. It touched him.

"My life was on again," he said.

A few years after Renee died, Danny married Mary Jane. He moved to Vermont along with Daisy and soon took a job at the Sheraton. Danny and Mary Jane have been married for 27 years.

Now, instead of hailing cabs, the 75-year-old is hauling customers. So popular is Danny, they named a road after him at the Sheraton a while back. It's now Danny O'Sullivan Way.

"I really think, Dad, if he was alive, he'd look at it and say, 'That's foolish,'" Danny said. "But inside, he'd give a wink and he'd say the boy did all right!"

Danny got his way with hard work and a lot of charm.