This week’s guru

Naked ambition revives old prank

As a student, Guru’s party piece at social events was to go into a cupboard,
strip off naked and reappear carrying his drink to mingle with guests.

So he has every sympathy for two pilots who have been sacked for flying a
Boeing 737 in their birthday suits.

The two men, who worked for US outfit Southwest Airlines, were reported when
an air hostess saw them mid-flight after being called to the cockpit to deliver
paper towels.

The pilots, who have not been named, claim one of them removed his uniform
after spilling coffee on it and are appealing against the decision. The US
Federal Aviation Administration has said there is no specific ban on naked

Southwest’s founder, Herb Kelleher, previously said the airline looked for
staff "with a sense of humour who don’t take themselves too

Inspired, Guru decided to revive his student prank at work and was gratified
that his old magic has not deserted him. Colleagues fell about laughing when he
reappeared from the stationary cupboard dressed as nature intended (although
their mirth might have had something to do with the extra frosty air

Fat cat creams off reward for mistress

Guru has been getting bored reading the stream of recent headlines on
fat-cat salaries paid to senior executives in under-performing companies.

So he was interested to learn of one boardroom bust up based on sex rather
than remuneration packages.

Internet company Host Europe’s board of directors has claimed its chief
executive Abby Hardoon lavished financial favours on his mistress, who was
formerly his secretary.

The directors went public about Hardoon’s affair after he and his two
co-founders called an emergency meeting, urging shareholders to oust the board.

Board members also criticised his communication skills and time-keeping.

A spokesman for Hardoon confirmed that he did have an affair with his
secretary, and that she subsequently received a pay rise. He added that a woman
had since left the company, and Hardoon was reconciled with his wife.

Guru hopes the shareholders are as forgiving as Hardoon’s long-suffering
spouse when the meeting is held on 16 May.

Gallic goodwill is struck off the menu

The British and French have always had a love-hate relation-ship,
highlighted at the moment by differences over Iraq.

Consequently, Guru was not surprised to learn that a Frenchman is claiming
race discrimination and wrongful dismissal from his post as head chef of a
nine-strong chain of French restaurants in the UK.

Jacques Troquet claims Raymond Defazio discriminated against him after his
Café Med business took over the Café Flo chain in London where Troquet worked.
The chef alleges he was forced to take redundancy after being offered a more
junior job with an £8,000 pay cut.

Troquet told the hearing last week that Glaswegian Defazio set about
removing anything remotely Gallic – including the French menu, Evian mineral
water and even garlic. On the day they met, Troquet told the tribunal: "He
was asking everyone where they were from. Because he was Scottish, I told him I
was married to a Scottish lady and he said ‘oh you poor miserable bastard’. I
found it absolutely condescending and insulting, not just to me, but to my

No wonder Blair and Chirac could not agree over Saddam’s weapons of mass

Sorry I’m late but I was kidnapped

Guru recently published examples of outlandish workplace excuses. However, a
German office worker surely takes the prize for the most radical excuse for
persistent absenteeism.

Walter Hoffman tied himself up, slashed the tyre of his car and staged a
variety of other incidents to validate his persistent non-attendance at work.
He claimed he was the target of a hate campaign by mystery assailants.

Hoffman, 23, eventually admitted to police he had staged the elaborate
hoaxes to avoid going to work because it was so boring.

Guru hopes Hoffman’s employer recognises his creative talents and harnesses
them in a more appropriate area, such as public relations.

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