Turtle helps break the ice

In New Hampshire, I met Turtle.

She is a teenage girl, who sat at the front table during my Kind Dining seminar. I asked each person to pause and think of one thing they could do to improve their performance and make the experience for their residents better.

That’s when Turtle raised her hand.

“I know I’m slow at serving and with some skills and help I want to improve. They don’t call me ‘Turtle’ for nothing.”

The room fell silent. Eyes widened. Turtle’s co-workers seemed floored that she was aware of the same thing they all knew about her, and willing to admit it.

One of her co-workers spoke up next. “Some residents frustrate me so much I run into the kitchen and freak out!”

That was a Eureka moment! My workbook addresses the icebergs that are part of every work environment — those hidden emotions that lurk under the surface in all of us. To witness these two particular icebergs rise out of the water and begin to thaw was one of the most gratifying experiences of my entire trip to New Hampshire.

It’s those small admissions, and the beginning of communication, that can make a difference in dining service and bring higher quality care to residents. And that’s what I’m trying to do.

Thank you, Turtle.

About Cindy Heilman

Cindy Heilman MS, DTR: Cindy Heilman has over 25 years of experience in enhancing hospitality, and food service standards. She is the CEO of her own company, Higher Standards LLC, and creator of Kind Dining® Training. Her unique background in restaurant ownership, in hospitality and healthcare food service, in working as a Dietetic Technician Registered and Healthcare Specialist at SYSCO Foodservices, led her to the development of her exclusive program that improves relationships and lives of aging residents through the dining experience.

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