Pay it 4ward: Hospital restaurant staff thanked by health care workers

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – For this week’s Pay it 4ward, a group of health care workers at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center is recognizing a team that provides the fuel for their hard work.

The team at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center’s El Oso Café has provided great service and great food, even through a global pandemic.

“They have taken care of the staff here at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center and our patients who have walked through those doors for the last 18 months," Senior Patient Support Therapist Anastasia Estocin said. "They know some of the regulars by name, they’ve never failed to keep us safe by disinfecting credit cards and they are always filling us with delicious breakfast burritos, Frito pie and Greek coffee cookies.”

So, Anastasia and her colleague, Patient Navigator Carlos Orozco, teamed up to surprise the amazing team.

“They are fantastic. They take really good care of everybody, not just our patients but us as well," Carlos said. "The fact that they even know us by name speaks wonders, given that they see so many people throughout the day. They are very much deserving of this nomination.”

While the team prepared the kitchen for the day, KOB 4 prepared to give them a surprise.

After gathering the staff and popping the confetti, Carlos expressed his gratitude toward the team.

“We just wanted to thank you guys for everything that you guys have done throughout this pandemic, not just for the staff here but as well as all of our patients," Carlos said. "We come in here and we order stuff from you guys and you guys are very polite, you know what my name is, you disinfect every card you get and you try very hard to keep the facility in your area clean and tidy for any time that anybody comes in. We are very thankful for you guys so we wanted to pay it forward to you guys – here is one, two, three, four hundred dollars.”

The sweet gesture left the staff speechless, which gave Anastasia a good opportunity to thank them one more time.

"We just hope you feel appreciated," Anastasia said. "I know you see us every day – we see you almost every day – and we just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you and add a little bit of extra money to that tip jar."