For most of his life in the United States, Ubaldo Tostado has been part of the Vi family.
In 1982, he emigrated from his home in Mexico to the Bay Area, where he landed a job at the Palo Alto Hyatt as an assistant server. He spent more than 15 years there, transitioning from assistant server to room service, then from room service to full server.
In 2005, when Vi at Palo Alto opened, he was hired as a server. And this year, Tostado celebrates 31 years total with Vi (formerly Classic Residence by Hyatt) and Hyatt — and they’ve been incredibly lucky to have him, said Luis Lopez, Vi at Palo Alto’s director of dining services.
“He’s been here since we opened — we’ve always been able to count on him,” he said.
The biggest change for Tostado when he transitioned from hotels to senior living: He’d finally have an opportunity to get to know the people he served every day.
“At hotels, every day is different — you never know who you’re going to get,” he said. “Now, I feed our residents like they’re family. I know what they eat and drink… They make my job easier.”
Earning Trust and Respect
Tostado worked with a few of his fellow dining employees since Vi at Palo Alto opened.
“You get to know them. It’s like you’re working with family,” Tostado said.
In more than 10 years with the company, Tostado has established himself as a leader in the dining room. He comes to work every day with a smile on his face — and, by his example, encourages others to do the same.
“If you have problems, don’t bring them to work,” he said. “Focus on your job — just be happy and friendly with everybody.”
Thanks to Tostado’s positive attitude and reliability, Lopez has come to rely heavily on Tostado. “He’s always pitched in to help — he’s very proactive. He’s someone I really trust to be there when I need him,” he said.
Earlier in his career, Tostado worked early mornings so he could return home in time to care for his three children while his wife worked a night shift. Today, he still starts every work day at 6:30 a.m., but he’s used to the hours and wouldn’t change a thing about his schedule. “I like working breakfast — I don’t even need an alarm now to get up in the morning,” he said.
Tostado and his wife have three sons, two of whom have worked alongside him at Vi at Palo Alto. His oldest son spent four years as a server at Vi before graduating from college and becoming an emergency medical technician; his middle son still works as an evening server in the community. The youngest, he said, is 14 and enjoys sports — for now.
“I can’t wait for his youngest son to turn 18 so we can bring him on,” Lopez said. “Ubaldo taught them everything they know. They’re hard workers!”