Giomar Oquendo ran to the taxi and opened the door for a hotel guest with a big smile on his sweaty face. “Welcome to Marriott Harbor Beach Ma’am! How are you doing today?” he said.
This is one of the hundreds of people Oquendo greeted today. Helping guests checking in and out is his job.
“I enjoy helping people,” said Oquendo, “I’ve never had a same day twice.”
Standing all day long, Oquendo’s day starts at 7 a.m. He said he greets all the guests and helps with whatever they need non-stop until three in the afternoon.
He has met celebrities and interesting people who stayed at the hotel, he said. But he has met mean people, too.
Another guest walked out of the hotel. Oquendo approached her and asked if she needed help. The guest quickened her pace and left.
“I just have to keep my mouth shut and get it over with,” he said he just have to cope with the reality.
His co-worker a valet at the hotel, Jared Finnegan, called Oquendo the “No.1 team player.” Finnegan and Oquendo work side by side as a team.
“When a guest comes, he greets the guest, takes the luggage and hands me the car key to park,” Finnegan described their working procedure.
“He bought me lunch today just to appreciate my company,” said Finnegan.
He has been working as a doorman at this hotel for five years. Born in New York, Oquendo and his originally Costa Rican parents have been living in Fort Lauderdale since he was seven years old.
Now he has his new family, a son and a girlfriend. “I spend a lot of my free time with my family, watching sports and hanging out with my son.” As he was talking, he flipped through pictures of his son on his phone.
Being family oriented and dedicated to his job, Oquendo is also futuristic. He envisions himself as a manager after he gets to finish some more studies. But now, as he said, “I’m just a doorman.”