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Painter’s World: “Please Find My Dolly.”

A True Hotel Holiday Tale…

 

She couldn’t have been more than five years old. I’d just rounded a building, and climbed out of the golf cart. The little girl ran toward me.

“My dolly. Mein puppe. My dolly.” Tears gushed out of her deep blue-green eyes. Wide with fear. “My dolly,” she sobbed, as she grabbed onto a woman’s hand.

“May I help you, Mam?” I asked.

“My doteur lose her doll.”

 

It was Christmas Eve at the hotel. Guests and visitors swarmed the property. The Seralago was at full capacity. Actually at overflow.

I knelt down to the child’s level. “What is your dolly’s name?”“

“Katweena,” she cried. “Dolly Katweena.”

“Katrina? That’s a pretty name.” The child reminded me of my sister. What she probably looked like at that age. Beautiful, natural wavy hair that encircled her round face. Like an angel’s golden halo.

“Can you tell me what your dolly looks like?”

“Like me.”

“Blonde hair?” I looked to the mother, who struggled with her English.

“Katrina large. (The woman moved her arms about 20-22 inches in height.) “Baby doll. Pink dress. White pinafore. Shoes, like Marta’s. (She looked down at her daughter’s white tie shoes.

The little girl had inched closer to me. “You find Katweena?” she asked, almost in a whisper.

How could I refuse? It may have been close to clocking out. But, no way could I leave that property before finding that child’s doll.

“Madam, do you know where your daughter might have left her doll?

“We – family – by pool. Close gazebo. Husband and sons swim. I read in chair. Marta stand by small pool, for little ones.” The woman’s voice sort of dropped away. Her eyes full of concern.

“I’ll start by the pool then. Where will you be, Madam? What room?” I stopped. Family of five, I thought. “Does your family have a suite here?”

“Yes. Suite. Children’s fun room. Building 100-200.” She hesitated, “Please find. Must fly home day after Christmas. Germany.”“We’ll find your daughter’s doll.”

“We’ll find your daughter’s doll.” The lady smiled, then bent down and hugged her little girl.

 

Standing, I reached for my mobile, and called Security.

“Please put out the word. We’re looking for a lost doll. Long, blonde hair. Pink dress, white pinafore, and white tie shoes. Doll is 18-22 inches tall.” I told security where I was, and the guest’s suite number.

I felt a tug on one of my pants legs. My “whites” were splattered with pastel yellow and mint green paint. (We’d had an incident in another suite. It needed a quick repaint, the entire suite.)

“Please find her.” The little girl’s eyes bore into mine.

“I will. I promise.”

 

After clearing where I could find the family within the next hour, I re-parked my golf cart. And I took off.

First, I scoured the entire pool area, including the gazebo. Also the children’s playground. Just in case. I checked every spot within that general radius, certain that the child had not wandered far from her family’s location by the pool.

For over a half-hour, I looked. Nothing. And, no one else – in security – had found the doll either.

I decided to find the family. To reassure the mother – the little girl – that I was still looking. And that other staff members were looking, too.

The family was back at the pool area. The little girl spotted me and met me part way. “You not find my Katweena,” she said. Lowering her eyes to the ground.

“Not yet.” I bent down. “But I’m still looking.” I forced a smile. “She has to be here somewhere. Right?”

“Wight!” The child agreed. A slight smile appeared on her tear-moist face.

 

About fifteen minutes later,  I looked toward a sort of out-of-the-way corner near the gazebo. I’ll never know why. Something just pulled me there.

I darted toward an area opposite the pool. Past the gazebo. Around the corner. Toward this nearby pool supply building.

There she was! Doubled over on the concrete walk. I couldn’t wait to grab hold of that dolly. Wipe her off. Straighten up her dress and pinafore. And, smooth down her curls.

 

I will always remember the look on that little girl’s face. The moment she spotted her dolly in my arms.

It was the same kind of “love-look” that I remembered seeing, many times, on my sister’s face when we were kids. Especially when she was playing with her Madame Alexander Baby Doll.  “Cookie.”

"COOKIE" circa 1972

 “COOKIE” – circa 1972

 

I worked the next day. Christmas Day. And, I had the chance to see little Marta and her family before they caught the shuttle to Orlando International Airport.

Working on Christmas – that Christmas – offered such a remarkable reward. The gift of being surrounded by people – hundreds of families – on the most important day of the year.

 

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Bless you and yours this holiday season.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s World: On the job on Thanksgiving Day

Usually, hotel/resort and facility painters need to work on holidays, including Thanksgiving Day. Particularly if they are scheduled to be on duty that day of the week.

 

For many reasons, I always enjoyed working on Thanksgiving. Even though many work orders were STAT, guest tempers flared, and bosses went ballistic.

 

10 THINGS THAT MADE THANKSGIVING A GREAT WORK DAY

 

  1. Chance to be with other persons – work friends – on a holiday.
  2. Opportunity to help others enjoy the holiday away from home.
  3. Lighter, more relaxed mood among staff members, even management.
  4. Teammates’ humorous approach to troubleshooting, and handling of problems promptly.
  5. More time allowed for light talk between and among staff members.
  6. Teammate’s holiday stories and jokes during breaks and lunch.
  7. Holiday atmosphere throughout the property.
  8. Festive, respectful attitude of guests and visitors, even when complaining.
  9. “Lightened up” attitude of bosses.
  10. Scrumptious menus prepared by our cooks – and those “doggie bags” for home.

 

10 TIPS FOR ENJOYING THANKSGIVING DAY AT WORK

 

  1. Two-three days before, jot down simple to-do list for the holiday. Select tasks that take little time – and will free you to enjoy the day with others.
  2. Carry in a holiday snack for teammates. Something that they’ll like, tastes great, and is easy to grab and eat on the run. ADDED TIP: Hand out pieces of wrapped holiday candy to fellow staff.
  3. Show up in a holiday mood, and spread it around, without overdoing it.
  4. Be ready to stop and chat with teammates and fellow staff any time your paths cross.
  5. Make the work day a little easier for any teammate that you know is going through a rough time (whatever the reason).
  6. Keep your eyes out for guests that need an extra pair of hands, or smile.
  7. Step in and give your boss an unexpected and extra break time.
  8. “Take two” minutes. Toss a ball with a teen hanging out in your work area outdoors.
  9. “Take five” minutes. Lend a hand to a guest loading up the family vehicle.
  10. Look out for children that appear lost, confused, upset, or ill. Help them get back to family.

 

Remember: Everyone on the property that day will be visiting. Away from home, and away from their own tables.

Give thanks that you’re there on this holiday. There’s a good reason that you are. Make it matter!

 

A TRUE THANKSGIVING STORY…

 

Three turkeys lived, very visibly, in our woods. One Thanksgiving, my dad forgot to pick up his 22+ pound, free Thanksgiving turkey from the company.

 

Without saying anything to anyone, he loaded a rifle and snuck into the woods to shoot a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.

 

But, the three turkeys had other plans. They disappeared.

 

Dad crept through the trees for over two hours, fighting whipping 40 degree winds and biting snow. Still no turkey.

 

When he came back to the house, Mom asked him, “Where were you? Ron and Carol dropped off your turkey.”

 

Dad looked at his unloaded rifle, then doubled over in laughter.

 

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Give thanks for the turkey that got away, and the turkey that joins you for dinner.

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A safe and memorable Thanksgiving week-end to everyone. And, thanks for reading “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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