Monday 5 July 2010


He made it welcoming

As I arrived at the hotel, my name had not been forgotten, the chorus was – “Welcome to your second home”. I was glad to hear that, and everyone remembered as we reminisced over the past year.

I was last here in May 2009 and up till that time, I had spent 91 days in the previous 21 months in a Riu-brand hotel, 75 of them in this self-same hotel.

One person exemplified the continuing desire to return again and again, funny, self-deprecating, very attentive, extremely helpful almost to the point of reading your mind.

Got you to holiday

Anytime I entered the lobby to work on my laptop he threatened to seize it because he felt you don’t come to a hotel like this to work, you come for holidays and it was his duty to ensure you were on holiday not at work.

Likeable, affable, friendly, reliable and buzzing with initiative, he had that flow that showed that he enjoyed what he did and everyone just warmed to him for his enthusiasm and dedication – any employee would want to have his balance of creative flair, intuitive acumen and confident bearing as he switched between the six or so languages he spoke so fluently with customers who needed attention.

Pining to see him

I normally would have called ahead to inform him that I was arriving, and he would assure me that my usual room if available would be made ready – however, because everything was so last minute, I thought it was best not to put him under duress.

He usually does not work on Sundays but as I woke up this morning, I first went to the reception as if to see him, he was not there, so I made for breakfast and surmised that he probably was on holiday or was in the back office.

After breakfast, I had to ask after him, she said he was no longer with them, so I wondered if he had gone to another Riu establishment, she said no, I was unrelenting as I delved further.

He was a year younger; he probably saw the signs of my deteriorating health long before I noticed things were awry, I wanted to tell him that those blotches we had medical staff observe the last time I was here were the early stages of skin cancer and what I had been through.

He’d gone

I was so looking forward to shaking his hand, have him come round from the other side of the reception divide to give him a warm embrace as I gave the many others who remembered me.

Unfortunately, the more things look the same, the more you notice the change, she would not tell me much more, it was too difficult for her to talk about. Even I do not know much else as to why, when and what but I will not be seeing him again.

Javier Romero had died. Rest in peace, good friend.

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