That’s because Abe has been Ramp Master at the main entrance to Roper on Calhoun Street since the hospital instituted its complimentary valet parking back in 2006.
“Since Day One,” the 66-year-old Wilson says with a broad smile. “May 22, 2006 was the day we started it, and I have been here ever since.”
That’s more than seven years of greeting and helping people in and out of cars more than 135 times a day. And it’s all free to Roper patients.
“The best part of this job is helping people,” says Wilson, who knows those coming and going often need special care getting in and out of vehicles as they come and go from the downtown hospital. Some need wheelchairs. Some need walkers. But everybody needs what Abe Wilson has to offer.
“I try to treat everybody with respect and a smile,” said Wilson, who retired after 32 years with the United State Postal Service. “After a while you get to know people and they become your friends.”
The same goes for the 15 part-time employees, usually retirees or college students, who scamper back and forth all day from the parking lots making sure everybody gets the right car in the quickest time.
“Nobody likes to wait,” Wilson said. “We hustle.”
So whether you’re arriving at Roper for a procedure or going home after being successfully treated, make sure you say hello to Abe Wilson. He’s the first of many smiling faces you’ll encounter during your visit.
Ken is a former Post and Courier sports columnist and local author. Contact Ken at firstname.lastname@example.org