The “Consummate Hospitalitarian”
Today I watched a streaming celebration of the life of a beloved colleague and dear friend, Tom Roditus. Although Tom left us about a year and a half ago, the depth of my sadness makes it feel like yesterday.
“Tom was the consummate hospitalitarian,” one speaker remarked. Such an interesting description, and one I had never heard before. Only fitting, because in all my years I had never worked with anyone like Tom before…and evidently neither had anyone else. Unpretentious, guileless, super smart, and as tenderhearted as he was tough.
Tom was everyman, and yet one in a million, which made him all the more loved and respected as a colleague and a leader. You never heard a bad word about him, and he never said a bad word about anyone…amazing, given the pressure he was under as Senior Vice President of Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando—don’t quote me on the title, although titles meant absolutely nothing to him.
I remember presenting him with a list of “marketable” enhancements to the guest experience, one of which was colorful sheets for cribs at cots to which he responded, “when you’re in Orlando next week, plan to spend time with me at our laundry facility,” and so I did. As he walked me through what seemed like three football fields of washers, dryers, ironing machines, and a good many team members working in complete synchronicity, he pointed out how adding items as seemingly innocuous as colorful or patterned sheets would impact the process in every way. “Now you decide if this is how you want to allocate your budget.” And he truly meant that.
From that day forth, I never made any recommendations without looking at the whole picture, in order to make an educated decision. Tom showed me a different perspective and gave me a new lens, which I still look through to this day.
He gave so many so much and had everyone’s best interest at heart…from the guest to his team to his colleagues, vendors the company, and even the industry. He was fun, funny, fair and one of the most organized people I have ever known. He was the embodiment of integrity, he was a blessing to our industry, he made the world a more hospitable place for having been here.
Tom Roditus was indeed the "consummate hospitalitarian."