Food and fellowship: Devereux New York food service manager’s jokes bring smiles
Doug Patton, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health New York’s food service manager, knows the importance of a good sense of humor.
In his 20 years on the job, Patton has always tried to keep a sunny disposition – and plenty of so-called “dad jokes” on hand. (e.g., “Where do ships go when they are sick? Well, the dock of course!”)
Patton’s kind, caring attitude – and positive approach to all he does – lifts the spirits of the individuals in our care and our employees every day.
Humor: The secret ingredient
Several years ago – to lighten the mood in Devereux New York’s business office – Patton began adding jokes to food service bills he submitted to his team members.
“I wanted to let my colleagues know that I cared about them, and to show them that life is not all about business,” said Patton. “All the jokes I share are corny, short and clean, and typically tie into a given holiday or life experience.”
Patton also strives to bring smiles to the faces of the youth he serves at Devereux New York. One day, when a student – who was helping him mop the dining room floor – seemed down, Patton cracked a joke and encouraged him to come up with one of his own.
“After a few weeks, the student finally told me his joke. It turns out, his whole classroom got involved,” shared Patton. “This opened the door and enabled me to form stronger relationships with our students. I visit them at lunch to hear their latest jokes. They even made me a poster with some of their favorites.”
Lunch with a side of wit
Recently, Patton began adding jokes – printed on tiny strips of paper – to the boxed lunches he creates for various meetings held on campus. Diners eagerly eat up his unwavering wit, along with his team’s tasty eggplant, tomato and mozzarella sandwiches, guacamole and strawberry shortcake.
“The jokes add a personal touch to our boxed lunches,” explained Patton. “I consider everyone who walks through our doors – individuals, employees and visitors alike – to be family. I do things like this because that is what family does for family.”
During a recent visit, Devereux’s national Quality Improvement (QI) team praised Patton for his deliciously thoughtful meals.
“We want to thank Doug and his staff for everything they do to help brighten the day of all who visit Devereux New York – and for truly exemplifying the values of Servant Leadership by putting people first,” the QI team said. “What better way to bring people together than through good food and good jokes?
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