At your service


POSTED: Sunday, November 15, 2009

Edmund “;Buster”; Civerolo, the nation's No. 1 bell help, carries a lot of baggage and solves problems for guests at the 1,310-room Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, where he has worked for the past 31 years.

They love him for his infectious good nature, his generous spirit and the fact that if he has any baggage or problems of his own, no one would ever know it from his positive demeanor.

“;The guy is always up,”; said Lisa Kaalekahi, guest services manager at Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. “;I've worked with Buster for 12 years now, and I've never seen him have a bad day. Every day is a great day for him.”;

When Civerolo was recently named the American Hotel & Lodging Association's outstanding lodging employee of the year in the large-property category, Kaalekahi said few at Marriott were surprised. Earlier in the year he also received Hawaii's 2009 Na Poe Paahana, or hard-working people award, and was named the Hawaii chapter of the AHLA Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year. As a result, Civerolo has received congratulations in person from Gov. Linda Lingle and Lt. Gov. James “;Duke”; Aiona Jr.

“;Buster's years of bell service here at our resort can, at the very least, be summed up by his award,”; said Chris Tatum, general manager of the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. “;Buster is the model of our hospitality industry. His daily enthusiasm is genuine and infectious, and we're delighted to see him achieve this national recognition.”;

After a season of honors, Civerolo is finally getting used to accolades; however, for him, most of them just come down to another “;Aw, shucks, I was just doing my job”; moment.

A typical day for Civerolo involves making 30 or 40 deliveries a day up and down the stairs or the elevators. He competently takes care of guest luggage, delivers important business materials and medical supplies, and, if a guest wants to propose to a girlfriend or celebrate a romantic anniversary, he's the guy who puts the rose petals on the bed.

Civerolo's schedule is so busy that it serves as partial training for the Honolulu Marathon that he runs each year, but that doesn't stop him from calling out a warmhearted “;Alooooha!”; to each and every passer-by. He greets guests and co-workers with the same courtesy and extra oomph that most people normally reserve for favorite family members.

“;They are my family,”; said Civerolo, who left most of his immediate family behind when he moved from Hilo to Oahu several decades ago.

Civerolo applies that sentiment to everything he does, going above and beyond what most would do.

When a disabled guest needed purified water to run his breathing machine, Civerolo purchased it with his own money and had it ready upon arrival. He routinely spends time off giving guests free surfing lessons and for the last 10 years has run the Honolulu marathon with several return guests, taking it upon himself to rent a limousine to make the experience more memorable.

But Civerolo's caring nature has extended beyond caring for Marriott guests. When a disabled veteran from another hotel was mistakenly told that he could get a haircut and shave at the Marriott in preparation for a speech at the Arizona Memorial, Civerolo called around Waikiki until he found a hotel with a barber on property.

“;He personally drove the gentleman to that property and escorted him to the barber,”; Kaalekahi said. “;He made sure that someone escorted the visitor to a cab when he was done.”;

When he was done, the veteran gave Civerolo a big hug.

“;That was the best thanks,”; Civerolo said. “;He was just great, and I was so happy to be able to take care of him.”;

Co-workers also have benefited from Civerolo's generosity, said Scott Carvalho, who has worked alongside Civerolo as a bell help for more than two decades.

“;I needed help building my home, and the next thing I knew, he was using all his vacation to help me work on my house,”; said Carvalho, who got to accompany Civerolo to Chicago when he received the national award.

Civerolo is as popular with co-workers as he is with guests, Carvalho said.

“;He makes everyone feel good about themselves,”; Carvalho said. “;He always tells people, 'You're the best.'”;

Isaac Pohina, the Marriott's assistant bell captain, said he's learned a lot from Civerolo.

“;He uses all his tools,”; Pohina said. “;When he greets the guests with such enthusiasm, they can't help but respond.”;

Civerolo takes care of the guests, and they in turn take care of him, Pohina said.

“;He gets the best tips because he goes beyond what is expected,”; he said. “;I've seen him take guests surfing or shopping on his off time.”;

Originally, Civerolo began working at the Marriott part time as a way to help pay for oceanography classes at Leeward Community College. However, he quickly realized that he had found his true calling in the hospitality industry.

“;It's so exciting to meet new people every day,”; Civerolo said. “;I really love talking to them and finding ways to help improve their stay.”;

Despite his ever-ready grin, Civerolo said that he has experienced bumpy times.

He thanks God for helping him meet those challenges and enjoys sharing some of those blessings with others.

“;I like to give back; it really makes me feel good,”; said Civerolo, who is an interesting blend of Italian boisterousness and Japanese humility.

Civerolo's mother was a waitress at the Big Island's iconic Volcano House, and his father was in the Navy.

“;They taught me about true service,”; he said. “;That's why as long as my health is good, I'll stay here as long as I can. I haven't got any plans to retire soon.”;