FORT LAUDERDALE - On a highly emotional day following hotel manager Clarence Jones' death, the cleaning staff at the Airport Comfort Inn came together to increase productivity and keep cleaning the hotel.
While Jones was known for being emotionally distant and refusing to speak with "the help," the fired-up domestic servants dusted faster, plunged deeper, and folded neater than ever before.
"Mr. Jones had his hand on that vacuum," said housekeeper Martina Perez through tears after turning around room 317 in under forty minutes. "We love him, we know he is watching over this hotel."
The most emotional moment of the day came when each worker was given a new uniform with a memorial patch on the shoulders honoring Jones. After a long moment of silence the workers chanted, "Juice, Juice, Juice," Jones' nickname.
Shortly after kissing her patch, Lopez shared a story about a time she saw Mr. Jones working.
"He was talking to HR and ordering them not to hire a female worker who was "aesthetically challenged." Whether it be his refusal promote minorities or unwillingness to allow workers to observe religious holidays, Mr. Jones always was a fighter."
A retired veteran who was dishonorably discharged from the Marines in 1991, Jones obtained his degree in hotel management and began work at the Comfort Inn a year later. He was known for his no-nonsense attitude and his policy of firing any employee who attempted to form a union.
While his face was always covered by a complimentary copy of USA Today, Jones had a special place in the heart's of each person who ever set foot in the Comfort Inn.
"I will always remember the day I came back from my shortened maternity leave," Perez said. "He looked at me, handed me a broom, muttered 'time is money', and returned to his paper. While I couldn't see his face, I knew he was smiling at me."
As the night came to a close, Perez stocked one final minibar, got down on a knee and whispered, "Mr. Jones' this one's for you."