Many California hotels have closed their doors, but this Marriott location made the difficult choice to stay open. Spirits were low since many workers were forced to take a leave of absence. To bring light, General Manager Tony Zilobaf decided to make a change. The Bakersfield Marriott transformed into an actual sign of hope to cheer up employees and local residents.
It all started when Zilobaf came across some pretty special photos online.
Another hotel had created a giant heart in its windows by turning on specific lights throughout empty rooms. Even the iconic CN Tower in Toronto put on a 'light show' to brighten local's spirits.
The Marriott Bakersfield at the Convention Center already had so many empty, dark rooms due to the lack of local business.
To cheer up employees and locals all around, he decided to make a plan and share positivity to locals in his community too.
According to the Bakersfield official news site, Zilobaf decided to get his staff's help in deciding what to say - they settled on one simple word, "hope."
He even asked his staff not to book certain rooms, so they could leave the lights on (and the message of hope) day and night.
Zilobaf told Bakersfield news, "We are planning to stay strong and share that message: that we are going to survive it and we’re going to thrive."
Since the sign went up in the hotel, several people have thanked the Marriott location for brightening their day.
To Zilobaf, this shows hope can be shared even in the most challenging times. The hotel is offering a special rate for California first responders.
I would love for the community to see it...so they can be encouraged in their own lives too," he said.
He plans to leave up the sign in his windows as long as the pandemic endures.