Technically he’s the front desk clerk, but you’ll rarely find him there. Even on a rainy morning, Raven Burnett prefers standing at the door of Hotel Royan, a 1920s hotel on Valencia Street that was converted to affordable housing in 2003.

“I get tired, sitting behind a desk,” he says. Instead, he stands outside and enjoys “looking at the neighborhood, getting to know people around. You know, just chatting.”

“Just chatting” has served him well.

About nine years ago, he says, he boarded BART in Oakland, on his way to the Royan, where he’s worked for 15 years. He noticed a woman he wanted to chat with.

“She was very beautiful,” he says. She was quietly sitting by herself, he recalls, on her way to see a play in the city.

“She didn’t really look at me,” he said, but he struck up a conversation anyway. “You know, flirtatious stuff,” he says, laughing.

She wasn’t that interested in him at first, but she came around “when she found out who I was. You know, the kind of person I was.”

Nine years later, they’re still together.

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