TUPELO - Albert "Al" Lozano always has been a good employee at Comfort Inn in Tupelo, but his employer says he really stands out because he goes out of his way to help guests at the hotel.
His boss, Carolyn Moss, tells of the time he reached out to a sick guest who wound up being hospitalized. Lozano, who lives in Plantersville, drove to visit the sick man in Chickasaw County several times on his own dime.
That was two or three years ago, and Lozano still keeps in touch with the man.
It's one of a dozen charitable stories about Lozano, who is the maintenance supervisor at Comfort Inn.
On Tuesday, Lozano's actions earned him the first hospitality person of the year award from the Tupelo Innkeepers Association. The award comes with a $500 Visa gift card.
Jim Grisham, president of the innkeepers, said the group created the award because the members "wanted to do something to say thank you to our staff."
"We wanted to recognize people who work for us who go above and beyond the call of duty," Grisham said. "We wanted to recognize a person who makes our guests feel welcome."
Any hotel or motel staffer at a member business is eligible. The candidates must be nominated.
Carolyn Moss, general manager at Comfort Inn, wrote a glowing nomination letter about Lozano, who has been working for her for a little more than three years.
"I have been in the hotel business for over 12 years and I have never had a more dedicated employee than Al," she wrote.
She noted that he works after hours to take care of problems, and helps guests with car trouble and never asks for money.
He also has given donations to a guest who stayed at the Comfort Inn but didn't have any clothes except for what he was wearing.
"I can really talk all day long, but I can still not say enough good things about this man," Moss wrote.
Lozano was quiet at the award presentation at the Varsity Grille and downplayed the accolades.
"Sometimes, I think this is what the Lord would want us to do," he said. "I'm just a man willing to do my job ... The things needed to be done and I was not expecting anything in return from anyone."
He plans to spend the $500 with his wife, Betty, on Christmas presents for their 18 grandchildren.
"We really have to thank the Lord for all this," Lozano said. "He makes all this happen. There's a scripture that says, 'What you do in secret, I will reward you openly.'"
Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal