Friday, December 8, 2006

A sneak peak into the back of the house

For those who have any experience in the hotel business, you'll know "the back of the house" to be the part of a hotel that works behind the scenes to make the front of the house work. Behind every grand reception hall, every magnificent dining room, every shining bathroom, every lovingly made bed and freshly pressed sheet are the people that make up the back of the house team. Since joining our team 4 years ago, Ste. Anne's summer gardener/winter decorator and all around good buddy Debbie T. has brought her special brand of "git-er-done" sensibility to the back of the house. Debbie is a survivor. She is also a self confessed red-neck, but she is the most lovable, hard working big hearted red neck I've ever known, and all of her friends and family are cut from the same cloth. Every year, around Christmas time, Debbie invites the team from the back of the house over to her house for a little cheer. The main event is a pot luck supper, followed by a Secret Santa gift exchange. Debbie's husband drives a big rig, so he's seldom home for this event, but he's there in spirit, along with their two friendly dogs and a cat who's looking like she's had a few too many trips to the cream bowl. We all stand around the kitchen tasting various contributions to the pot luck supper, including a bucket of what we all know we shouldn't be eating, but it's so yummy! Not everyone from the back of the house shows up at these get togethers. I suspect some are a little shy, others have families that they have to get home to, while others are working. Regardless, those who do come take this rare opportunity to let their hair down and relax, laugh and swap stories about some of the more comical things that happen on a daily basis in the back of the house. We all know that it's not glamorous work, but in its own way it it is meaningful and rewarding. So, my message is simple - over the next few weeks as we put on our Sunday best to attend holiday parties, as we waltz into the grand lobbies and banquet halls, join me in saluting the countless thousands of friends and colleagues who tirelessly work in the back of the house to make the front of the house look and feel so effortlessly wonderful. Pictured above, Richard, a skilled carpenter and all around handy man, and Darlene a talented gardener in the summer months, an alternative therapist in the winter. Other attendees at this gala event were Carrie and Penny from Housekeeping, Mike, one of our night custodians, Dave from maintenance, Phil, our laundry transporter, and Shauna from the spa team (she loves a party). These people are as real as it gets, fun, down to earth and some of the nicest people you'll ever know. Usually they don't stand out in the places they work - they're too busy working. But if you do have the good fortune to meet one of them in passing, stop and talk to them - you'll be glad you did.

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