Saturday, December 18, 2010


Let me tell you about the tipping policy at the Manor. It's verboten. Period. No exceptions. If a staff member is discovered accepting any sort of tip it results in termination. That includes the dining room waitresses, the kitchen staff, the housekeepers, the maintenance crew, the office staff, the nurses and all the workers behind the scenes. And there are times when service is offered beyond any expectations and one yearns to give some sort of recompense, but no, no, no. Stifle that urge.

As on a cruise ship, there comes a time at the end of the voyage, or in the case of the Manor, at the end of the year when residents are urged to show their gratitude by writing a check to the Employees' Appreciation Fund. Someone has the job of figuring out how much each employee receives by seniority, service rendered and who knows what else and at a Christmas party, Santa hands out envelopes containing checks.

Yesterday was the day of this year's Santa Christmas party and excitement ran high as residents and employees gathered in the main lounge. As Santa called the names, each employee came forward to receive their check and Santa put into their outstretched hand a one dollar coin along with the envelope. We
didn't know what the extra something was until I asked Sal, one of the maintenance men, after the proceedings and he told me and pressed me to take his coin for good luck.

Most of the employees have been here for years and years. When I first visited the Manor years ago, what impressed me most of all was the obvious sincerity exhibited by staff members. I could detect no falseness in their actions. There seems to be a wonderful feeling of pride in carrying out not only their prescribed tasks but to a person they go beyond the call of duty. "Here, let me help you with that" and "I'll be right back with what you need" are not unusual sentences to hear.

As each employee's name was read, she or he came forward to much applause from co-workers and residents. It was a heartwarming event.

Virgie is one of the dining room servers. She has a wonderfully giggly sense of humor.

I should know her name, but I don't. She's part of the staff in the Health Center; one of these days we undoubtedly will get to know her better, but, knock on wood, we aren't on a first name basis yet.

John is the newest member of the Maintenance crew, having been here over a year. They all know us by name and are infinitely cheerful when we cross paths.

Juan is one of the chefs. When Owen visited a year ago, and wore his Halloween chef's costume, Juan came out to meet him and then took 2 year old Owen on a tour of the kitchen.... a privilege we residents have yet to enjoy.

Sicorro, one of the housekeepers, greets us with this same amount of enthusiasm every time she sees us. I've never known anyone to be more positive in approach. As we part, she always wishes us blessings and a good day.

William, shy as they come, is learning the art of cooking. He's one of Chef Forde's students at a Glendale College class. At mealtime he carries the large platters out into the dining room, keeping his head down to avoid eye contact. But when he's making tacos on Taco Tuesday he can
be chatty.

Kerima wears many hats as she arranges for the entertainment scheduled for residents and leads meetings full of information about matters of interest to us aging folks. Her show business background stands her well when singing is called for.

Gayane is a nurse who never is still a minute. She can be seen striding along on her way to take someone's blood pressure or to deliver medicine. I've threatened to loan her my pedometer to see just how many miles she covers in a day.

Tamara is a superb dining room server. It takes her no time to learn one's preferences and the iced tea is often waiting before I get settled at the table.

Sandy and Sue hold down the front desk as receptionists and it's amazing to watch their juggling act as they answer phones, greet visitors and answer unending questions from residents.

Suzi is one of our favorite servers. When we first moved to the Manor I asked her for a lesson or two in speaking Armenian. This past summer she returned to her homeland for a visit for the first time in 20 years. 

When she was called to the front to get her check from Santa, I didn't hear her name clearly and definitely didn't recognize  her from the back as she walked up the aisle.

Now the employees have money in their pockets, hopefully some of it for Christmas shopping and some to save. Much picture taking took place afterward as people wanted to be seen with Santa.

 I captured the following final scene. I think of it as "Waiting for Santa".

Some of the recipients felt comfortable enough to turn and thank the residents and convey Christmas wishes; others were too shy to do anything but duck their heads while smiling as they departed to applause.


  1. So great !
    Anon Y Mouse

  2. Everything else is being rationalized, why not tipping?

  3. You have a fine group of folks tending Windsor Gardens. The annual expression of gratitude is lovely and well documented, Jane! kz

  4. Wow!! I love this. I am so sad Jane they do not let us out of our cities at GT anymore. They have hired many new people in the Glendale area so i get there seldom. I remember hearing of this event from lat year..... I understand the no tips. It keeps things simple and honesty and real service prevails...thank you for the post!

  5. Thanks for sharing this with us. I know these people work hard and have big kind hearts! What about the waitress who just gave birth, I hope she didn't miss her tip-check bonus...