A Day in the Life...
Having worked onsite for a number of years, I know firsthand how easy it is to to develop friendships with some of your favorite residents. This was the case at a community in Austin, Texas where a property manager and her staff became quite fond of a sweet little grandma named Bobbi. Here’s her story—
Bobbi was the kind of senior who was always on the go. She was involved in several clubs and would pop into the leasing office regularly to fill us in on all her activities.
The spry senior was also one of the best bakers I’d ever met. She would regularly bring in the most fabulous cookies, cakes and breads for us to enjoy. We were especially ecstatic whenever she made her signature banana bread or blueberry muffins.
The presentation of her gifts was also very special. Bobbi would deliver them in beautiful wicker baskets or trays lined with dainty paper doilies. Normally, she’d drop the baked goods off in the morning, returning later to retrieve her container. Bobbi’s kindness meant a great deal to us and we all thanked her for the delicious treats—as well as the extra pounds we’d all put on!
Tangled In A Turtleneck
I was working in my office one day when Bobbi called. “I’m in a bit of a pickle,” she began, “and I need your help! It seems I’m stuck in my shirt. Can you please come right over?”
Hearing the desperation in her voice, I grabbed my keys and hurried over to Bobbi’s apartment. There was no answer when I knocked so I let myself in and stepped inside. I could make out noises coming from the bedroom so I headed in that direction.
Sure enough, there was Bobbi on her bed struggling frantically with a turtleneck that clung tightly around her face from just below the bridge of her nose. One frail arm was partially through a sleeve, the other dangled loosely at a peculiar angle.
“It’s okay, Bobbi. I’m here,” I said softly. “Let me help you with that thing. Do you want it on or off?”
“Oh, thank gosh you came,” she replied, her voice muffled from inside the shirt. “This has never happened to me before and I’m so embarrassed! On, I think! Yes, on. I have a date and didn’t want to look ‘loose’ so I chose this turtleneck.”
At her age, she’s worried about looking ‘loose’? I thought, moving to help pull the stretchy garment over the rest of her head and gently snaking each arm through the correct sleeve.
She was flushed and tired from her battle with the turtleneck but calmed down after a bit. I smiled at her. “So, you said you have a date?”
“Yes, someone I met at church,” she answered with a girlish giggle. “He’s supposed to be picking me up here in a few minutes.”
“All right,” I said. “It looks like you’ve got things under control here. I’ll just let myself out so you can finish getting ready.”
Bobbi nodded, thanked me again for helping her and walked over to her vanity table. “I’m just about set here,” she assured me over one shoulder. “Just going to put on a little makeup and I’m ready to go.”
Pausing for a moment at the door, I couldn’t help but turn back to her. “Bobbi, you seem a little frazzled after all that. Don’t forget your skirt, pants or whatever you’re planning on wearing with that turtleneck!”
She looked down at the lower part of her body. “Ha! Yes, that’s good advice! I guess I’m still a little flustered!”
A Stomach-Turning Glance At The Kitchen
As I made my way back out of Bobbi’s apartment, I couldn’t help but shoot a quick glance over into her kitchen. What I saw there stopped me dead in my tracks!
I’ve never seen a filthier room! It was a complete mess—dirty pots, pans and cookie sheets were piled high on the counters. Food and debris were scattered everywhere and the sink was overflowing with dishes. Although I knew the floor was white tile, it was now a very dingy shade of gray. There was a mop bucket in the corner filled with something the color of chocolate milk. My stomach lurched as I remembered all of the tasty things prepared in this nasty kitchen. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough!
When I returned to the office, I told my staff that in the future we were not going to be accepting gifts of any sort from our residents. I didn’t tell them why to protect Bobbi’s reputation. I just said that moving forward, it would just be the policy.
A few days later I let Bobbi know about the new rule, telling her that while we had always appreciated her sweets, we would not longer be able to accept them. per orders from our corporate office. She didn’t ask questions but accepted my explanation with a kind smile.
To this day I’m reluctant to eat anything prepared in a kitchen I’ve not seen with my own two eyes. Call me paranoid but after witnessing the shocking condition of Bobbi’s kitchen, I definitely subscribe to the ‘better safe than sorry’ philosophy!
From the book "I Have a Complex, But I'm Managing It!", stories from property managers compiled by Monica E. Simmons.
Monica E. Simmons, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for JDC Enterprises, LLC, has worked in the multi-family industry in several different capacities since 1987. She is a published author whose books include; I Have A Complex, But I’m Managing It!, It Happened in The Hill Country, 30-Love and it's sequel, Match Point.
Contact her at: Monica@TheVendorGuide.com