The coronavirus pandemic has served up a tough situation for many in the restaurant industry, but recently a young man in Dallas found a new recipe for income in the medical field.
Due to the high demand for more testing, Neighborhood Medical Center in Dallas needed to hire more people to help take patient information and guide people as they drive up to get tested for COVID-19.
Belinda Smith, the director of human resources and marketing for Neighborhood Medical Center, decided to take a unique approach and hire people from the service industry.
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“Service industry individuals have a lot of unique skills. They can work in tough environments, like outside, and they know how to talk to people," Smith said. "It wasn’t necessarily they need premedical experience because a lot of this is just communicating through patients properly."
One of the people she thought of is Johnathan Cormack-Boyesuk, a 23-year-old bartender whom she's met in the past while at a restaurant.
His hours were recently slashed when the shutdown happened in March, but even with the re-opening, he's taken a major pay cut.
"The only money I got was the stimulus, so when we reopened we obviously opened at less capacity with less hours. I still work at my original job, but I work about three days out of the week when I used to work six," Cormack-Boyesuk said.
He also cares for his 62-year-old father who has some medical problems and also helps take care of his girlfriend's daughter.
When Smith reached out to Cormack-Boyesuk, it was an opportunity he couldn't pass up.
"I’m a people person, and once I got into bartending, I love making cocktails, the chemistry and making drinks and now working here, it’s a whole new ballpark and passion," he said.
He greets each patient in the car and provides them the information they need before they go to the next step ahead of getting tested.
"His first day we were like, 'He’s perfect, we want to keep him long term and make sure he’s taken care of especially with the service industry struggling a little bit,'" Smith said.
Many of the patients he greets are from the Latino community and Cormack-Boyesuk is originally from Argentina and speaks fluent Spanish.
"I always start my interviews asking the candidate, 'What they hope to accomplish within the position,' and John blew me away with his answer in general," Smith said. "He really wanted to help the Hispanic community in Texas to understand that their fear is warranted and we can take care of them and that there are options out there because he felt like it was a community that was getting almost overlooked to a degree."
He's encountered some patients who were afraid to come forward and ask for help because they were afraid of immigration or didn't speak English.
"A lot of the time they always thank me, they really appreciate the fact that somebody is here to help them out and somebody has their back," he said.
The new opportunity has also opened his eyes to other career paths.
"Because this is now my primary job and helps me out with the bills, so once I can get more stable and figure out what’s actually going on with coronavirus and jobs, I want to go to go back to school and get a job in the medical field and make a career out of that, ideally be a doctor and work my way up, 100%," he said. "Because it’s an amazing feeling to help someone every day."
The 23-year-old continues to work his service industry job at night, all while taking care of his family and managing to do it all without a car.
Smith said she'll pick him up for work in the morning and he's always on time.
"He is so grateful to be in this position, which is crazy to me because we are so grateful to have him and I feel like it's in line with our mission overall and it’s in line with what he’s trying to do," Smith said. "I think both of us, it was a match made in heaven and I'm really glad that the timing was great."