September 14, 2016
Every year, there is one special week set aside to honor our heroes of Housekeeping! I want to tell you the story of how I started teaching English to hotel housekeepers. It’s 1991 and I’m a training specialist at Bally’s Casino Resort. A couple years out of college with a degree in HR, I was facilitating new hire orientation and safety training. Part of my job was to replace the posters in the “back-of-the-house” areas and I stumbled upon the housekeeping department. I met Kay Weirick who was the Executive Housekeeper back then. She invited me into her world and next thing I knew, I was looking out in the faces of about 30 housekeepers who were from 15 different countries. I was supposed to teach them English. Holy Cow! I had no idea what I was doing, but I fell in love with each and every person in my classroom. After the first week, I found my car traveling straight to my dad’s office where I proceeded to take off my glasses and bury myself in his arms. “Daddy, I want to be with these people all the time! I want to teach English to housekeepers! What am I going to do? I have a degree in Business…. Now what?” He just listened – like he always did – with no intent of responding. The next thing I knew, I was out of my apartment and back in my parent’s home going to UNLV to obtain a master’s degree in teaching adults ESL. The rest is history. I’ve been teaching English to hotel housekeepers for 25 years now. I know their job; I know their histories; I know them. Let me introduce some of my hotel housekeepers to you:
- Some of them were medical doctors in their native country. Others were farmers.
- Some of them were accountants in their native country.
- Some of them were secretaries in their native country.
- Some of them were business men and women.
- Some of them finished university. Others never started school.
- Some of them fled their country in fear of persecution.
- Some of them left their profession behind to give their family a better life in America.
- All of them have an interesting story – then and now.
- All of them are leaving an impression with hotel guests.
- Each and every one of them has a story. Ask them about it.
- All of them are people. See them. Sawabona. Bring them into existence. Look into their eyes.
- All of them are my friends. Then, now and forever.