September 14, 2016

international housekeeping week 2016Every 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:
    1. Some of them were medical doctors in their native country. Others were farmers.
    2. Some of them were accountants in their native country.
    3. Some of them were secretaries in their native country.
    4. Some of them were business men and women.
    5. Some of them finished university. Others never started school.
    6. Some of them fled their country in fear of persecution.
    7. Some of them left their profession behind to give their family a better life in America.
    8. All of them have an interesting story – then and now.
    9. All of them are leaving an impression with hotel guests.
    10. Each and every one of them has a story. Ask them about it.
    11. All of them are people. See them. Sawabona. Bring them into existence. Look into their eyes.
    12. All of them are my friends. Then, now and forever.