The CherryWood Village Difference: Impressions of a Hotel Guy

Randy at band practice with the CherryWood Village Band

Randy at band practice with the CherryWood Village Band

When asked for his reflection on being a team member at CherryWood Village, Randy shared with us this beautiful story about life on a senior living campus and we are delighted to share it with you:

“It was a quiet summer night. I thought my evening manager shift was going to be completely uneventful until the front desk girl came back to tell me that a guest was inviting her up to his room to enjoy a bottle of wine – and wasn’t taking no for an answer! I’d seen it all – from ejecting transients in the stairwells to chasing hookers off the premises. And here was another wrinkle. I had to politely ask the guest to leave my front desk girl alone but I did it in my most intimidating posture, making sure that he took no for an answer this timeNorfolk.

No, this isn’t a memory of CherryWood Village, but of my prior career.

I was a hotel guy. Going all the way back to the days when they had keys for your room tucked in little cubby holes behind the front desk. There were no computers, there was no wi-fi and no pay-per-view. But there was always service. And in the hotel business, service is the competitive edge.zorb balls for sale

There were plenty of weird and wonderful occurrences, from visiting dignitaries and celebrities to drug busts and gypsy weddings. I was able to experience the richness of humanity, from its best to its worst and I am so much the richer for it. But I had become burned out – and I started to consider my career options at a point in my life where it was not quite too late to make a change.

I had thought for some time that the senior care industry would be a good career move for me. With all the operational aspects of a hotel, from housekeeping to maintenance to food service, I would be in a position to make a positive contribution with my vast expertise in an industry where, unlike hospitality, there is an ever-increasing market and great prospects over the long term.

So needing a change and with a hopeful interest in this industry, I found CherryWood Village. I quickly discovered what had been missing in my past life. All those years, and all those fascinating stories but always the guests were strangers. I knew the names only from the first line of their room folio. Some of the front desk staff got to know the regulars by name, but try as we might and despite the company’s continued efforts to make relationships part of their service standard, every one of these people was a stranger and with the transient nature of the business that was all they would ever be. We became very good at making these strangers feel welcome and at giving them every comfort they required. And that relationship worked for everybody involved.

So imagine how surprised I was to come to work at a place where service wasn’t just a performance standard that comes from the training manual. Here it is a real caring for people that have a meaning in your life. I had to tell my whole family when I got my first hug from Dorothy (the first of many). And I had to pinch myself when I found out that Emery flew the plane in “Sky King” – my favorite TV show as a kid. I say hi to Frances every day when I go get coffee and a day isn’t complete if we don’t get a visit in our office from Orpha.

I’m a person that is awful at remembering names and yet, I think I know more peoples’ names here than the sum total of guest’s names that I knew in my whole 30 years in hospitality. The names are too numerous to list, but with every new name I learn and every new story I discover, I feel my life being more and more enriched.

When I signed up for this job I knew it would be professionally challenging and rewarding and it has indeed been fulfilling in that regard, but I had no idea how personally fulfilling it would be. And I’m delighted to have found a place where I feel so strongly that I belong.”

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