Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

John’s 200-room hotel was down and out in every way that you could think of.

 

1. Structurally, the buildings were old, and deteriorated.

2. Essential amenities – eg. in guest rooms, eating areas, pools – were obsolete, damaged beyond repair, and compromised by mold, mildew and water leakage.

3. In the last year, staff had been cut to one-half, or less.

4. Management was top heavy.

5. Budget had been cut to 40 percent.

6. Guest occupancy ran at 40 percent, or lower.

7. The hotel property set now on a state highway, because the “U. S. Highway” designation had been moved to the new bypass two years ago.

 

Still, it held on. “I don’t think we an make it much longer,” John e-mailed. “Word has it, but management won’t tell us anything yet, that the doors will be closed by Christmas.”

 

John had three years to go to qualify for full Social Security benefits, and Medicare. Where would a 62-year old painter be able to find work? Even part-time?

 

So, John did the unthinkable. The unauthorized.

 

Every afternoon, he worked “off-the-clock” in guest rooms.

 

One-by-one, he repaired bathroom plumbing. He replaced ceramic tiles in complementary colors. He laid not no-skid mats in the bathtubs.

 

He camouflaged beat up headboard walls, by repainting them. He sponge-cleaned draperies to remove mold and mildew buildup in hidden areas. He cut fresh lemons, and stuck one or two sections inside every window air conditioner unit.

 

How could John afford the supplies that he used? Where did he get them?

 

1. He cut out all drive-through cups of coffee, snacks, fast food, and dinners out. And smoking.

2. He qualified for the local bus services. Over 60, the half-price fare. Four days a week, he left his car in the driveway at home.

3. From Home Depot, Lowes and paint stores, he purchased rejected/returned gallons of paint. Trying to stick close to very light colors, that he could tint.

4. He let people in church know that he needed used paint brushes, rollers and covers, sea sponges, etc. All in good condition. Also, partially full tubes and containers of caulking, putty, fillers, etc.

5. He talked the director of the area “Habitat for Humanity” into giving – or selling cheap – cans of primer, paint, varnish, sealer, polyurethane, etc. left over from home building projects.

6. He did what it took to get the supplies needed to fix up all of the guest rooms.

 

His efforts helped. Other staff members – eg. housekeeping and engineering – noticed. They started to stay longer, and make little improvements here and there.

 

1. A part-time housekeeper, from Trinidad, grew plants. On the transit bus, she carried pots of young foliage. After her shift, she planted them. Then, she helped the groundskeeper weed, prune and revive neglected plants, shrubs, flowerbeds, and shorter trees.

2. A kitchen worker stayed late frequently. He thoroughly cleaned, scoured and reorganized the main kitchen.

3. Two food court workers stayed on two slow days. They cleaned and reorganized the food court displays, countertops, cooking and warming areas, etc.

4. A maintenance worker helped John cut new carpet remnants into 12-inch by 12-inch squares. Then,  they laid them in the entry ways of over fifty guest rooms.

5. A laundry room attendant, that once worked in New York City’s garment district, borrowed a portable sewing machine. He re-stitched and re-hemmed over 100 quilted bedspreads, and 50 coverlets.

6. A super-store manager, located over 80 miles away, shipped boxes of slightly used bath linens, returned by customers.

 

In the end, the hotel made it through June of 2014. The owners gave a two-week notice to all staff members, including in the front offices. Here’s how the hotel staff said their good-byes.

 

* June 16 to 20. Staff was allowed to take furniture, lamps, paintings, and mirrors. They could also take linens, window treatments, fixtures, tools, supplies, kitchen and cooking utensils, china and serving pieces, table services for 8, etc.

 

* June 23 and 24. Staff helped the drivers of charity trucks load up remaining larger items in good condition: beds, sofas, chairs, desks, tables, mirrors, etc.

 

* June 25 and 26. Staff hauled all remaining pieces to two large dumpsters on the property.

 

* June 28. The staff returned and enjoyed a carry-in dinner around the (drained) pool.

 

* June 30. The utilities were shut off.

 

* June 30. The hotel’s general manager and an owner locked the doors from the outside. A security company padlocked the chain-linked fencing and gates erected to keep out intruders.

 

 

JOHN HAS NO REGRETS.

“I could have gotten into trouble. But, I never thought of it. I just tried to fix the place up… I wanted to give our hotel one last chance.”

 

 

What would you do to try to give your hotel another chance?

 

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Kudos to John! How’s life back with your family in the Antilles?

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Thanks, everyone, for your support and input. Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved

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