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'She's Always There' | Hotel worker in Tampa goes above and beyond to make cancer patients smile

Posted at 4:23 PM, Oct 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-29 16:23:16-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Breakfast Buffet at the Hampton Inn and Suites Tampa North is much more than just waffles and coffee.

There is a staff member who is going above and beyond to provide guests comfort when they need it most.

James Liccione has eaten breakfast at the hotel for the past 90 days, but he never gets tired of it, and it’s all because of Pam Calhoun.

“People avoid me when they see me out there with my bandana and my mask but Pam welcomed me with open arms and that meant a lot to me,” said Liccione.

Like many guests at the hotel, Liccione is on an extended stay while he undergoes treatment a few miles away at Moffitt Cancer Center.

“Coming here after treatment, feeling sick, feeling alone, Pam was there, she's always there, always encouraging me, and it was never if you make it, it was you will make it,” said Liccione.

Calhoun said she has always been a positive person and serving the most important meal of the day is the perfect way to spread that motivation.

“Just to know that it's more than just a job, just by serving food, its caring, it makes you feel like you are on top of the world, its inspirational,” said Calhoun.

A lot of these guests are far from friends and family while they take on one of the biggest challenges of their life.

“And its rewarding just to talk to them and just to make them feel at home and comfortable,” said Calhoun.

“Just knowing there will be a friendly face when we got here, somebody that knows us,” said Dana Phaneuf.

Her husband Joe Phaneuf is going through his second clinical trial at Moffitt.

“We know we are going to see that smile when she first walks into the lobby, she is wonderful,” said Joe.

When the guests finally pack up and go home the breakfast may come to an end but the appetite for Pam continues.

“They write letters and they stay in touch,” said Calhoun.