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Posts tagged ‘Working on Holidays’

Painter’s World: MEET ZACHARY

A True Hotel Holiday Tale…

 

At first, I thought the teen might have had a problem with depression. He sat on a nearby bench, doubled over. Just staring into the ground.

 

But depression turned out not to be what was weighing down this kid.

 

His name was Zachary. He was visiting Walt Disney World with his parents and grandparents. It was his nineteenth birthday. And evidently, one year ago, on December 24, he’d lost his little brother, Matt, to brain cancer.

 

“Matty was only nine,” the teenage guest told me.

 

We continued to chat as I clear-coated the span of wood railing.  Zachary said that his only sibling had had “a rough time” from the start.

 

“Matty was born with a hole in his heart.” Then the child was only five when he started to complain of “feeling whoozie” and “having pain inside” his head.

 

Zachary said that he felt guilty for being alive. And, with no problems at all.

 

Eventually, I ran out of railing to finish coat. And, I needed to move on to the next project on my list.

 

That afternoon, Zachary showed up again. I was repainting a large built-in seat in a rest area. The teen watched intently. He appeared to be much calmer.

 

“How do you do that?” he asked.

 

“Do what?”

 

“Maneuver that brush that way? Really radical.”

 

“Radical? Like in…?” I asked.

 

“Like in neat. Cool.” He hesitated. “I’d like to learn how to do that.”

 

“Step up. I’d be glad to show you.”

 

It was completely against policy. Letting a hotel guest be in a “fresh paint zone.” Letting a guest – a kid – handle any of our word tools, or use any paint product.

 

Probably, I could have gotten fired on the spot if my chief engineer would have come along. But, this kid – practically an adult – reminded me of someone else when he’d been grieving. Me – for my father.

 

Zachary stepped forward. I handed him a second two-inch angled paint brush, dipped in a little Forest Green paint.

 

“Closely watch my hand. It’s all in the wrist.”

 

The teen guest watched, then tried to mimic my wrist-hand movement. On the third try, he got the basic idea. A smile of satisfaction crossed his face.

 

“Matty loved to paint. I bought him an artist kit – you know, one of those sets in a metal box? The Christmas before… His last Christmas with us.”

 

The teen’s look dropped again. Like when I first spotted him that morning. I needed to do – to say – something.

 

“When my dad died suddenly, I thought I’d never paint again.” I told Zachary that my dad and I had worked together. “That made it extra hard,” I acknowledged.

 

I told the teen how one day I looked at Dad’s brushes. I picked up one of them. “And, you know what? That heavy feeling in my heart? It just sort of got a little better.”

 

The teen guest looked at me. He handed my brush back. And, he started to walk away. He turned back.

 

“I just remembered: I brought Matty’s artist kit along in my luggage.”

 

Zachary was going to be all right. At least for now, perhaps he had a way to make some sense of the whole thing. And, be able to enjoy the holidays with his parents, and grandparents – in their eighties.

 

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Take note. Heads up. Every guest… every coworker… could use a little boost.

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A year’s worth of thanks 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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