Lessons from Brazil – Doormen


Doormen (porteiros) are omnipresent in urban Brazil. Everyone and their momma has one. I liken it to how some people like to close the door to their bedroom at night because they feel safer. Doormen are kind of like that. Depending on your place of residence, your doorman might be suited up or dressed down. Where I live, one of the porteiros is also a handyman (and in case they aren’t, they surely know someone who is).

As of 3 years ago, there were 414,000 porteiros in Brazil and June 9th has even been declared Doorman Day. Two side notes, I’ve never seen a doorwoman and I’m not sure if not hiring a woman for the job is illegal in Brazil. Also, I’ve never seen an armed doorman.


Generally, doormen are called security guards in the States and having one (or many) usually means you live in a rich area/place. One needs a Guard Card to apply for such a job and being armed requires further training and licensing. Depending on where one lives, the guards might ‘moonlight’ as concierges as well.


One thought on “Lessons from Brazil – Doormen

  1. Adam,

    My parents have lived in the same condominum high rise in Sao Paulo for 34 years now, they have had many women working as doormen, they are rare, but they exist.
    The doormen at the entrance of buildings are not really there for security, they are there to open the gates and or doors and help folks with groceries into the elevators.
    By law, they are not allowed to have guns withing the building, the luxury buildings that want “extra” security have to hire specialized security firms that have trained men with authorization to use guns, and when they hire the security guards, the armed men are authorized to stand right outside the gates, garage entrances etc…they usually walk back and forth on the sidewalks in front of this luxury high rises, they usually look like “The man in Black” movie guys and they often have German sheppards or Dobermans with them, and yes, these men are authorized, licensed and insured to carry guns, they cost a lot, so only wealthy condominiums have them.
    The doormans have an indirect security function, they certainly watch the security cameras and call the police if they see something suspicious. The doormen at my parents building are instructed to never “react” to a possible robery attemp, they always need to call the police and activate the alarms, they usually sit in safe areas surrounded by bullet proof glass near the entrance of the buildings.
    They are usually there just to let you know your “MIL” or your friends are there to visit you and buzz them in. :)


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