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Hotel Server Retires After 53 Years

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    NEWSLETTERS

    After serving others for the majority of his life at the Palmer House Hotel, Bobbe Hellom is honored by his peers. (Published Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013)

    Imagine working at the same job for 53 years. You would have started that gig in 1960, when gas was 25 cents a gallon and the average price of a new car was $2,600.

    That was the year Bobbe Hellom started working at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago in the housekeeping department. Within two years, he was promoted to waiter, and he hasn't looked back since.

    "I'm going to miss this place real hard," Hellom said at an event to celebrate his retirement. "It's a beautiful place. It's like family to me."

    Hotel officials estimate Hellom has served more than 500,000 meals over the years, including many movers and shakers.

    "In some capacity, he served over 11 presidents from Eisenhower to Barack Obama. He served Elizabeth Taylor drinks, and he won't reveal what those drinks were to this day," hotel general manager Dean Lane said.

    The longtime server says he treated everyone the same, and each day he had one goal.

    "The first thing I do is smile. I never believed in coming in here without a smile," Hellom said.

    As a special tribute, the general manager thought it would be nice to pay homage to Hellom by turning the tables and serving him lunch.

    Hellom was the hotel's second longest serving employee by one year.