Surprised by her friend and one of her favourite artistes, Tony Rebel, general manager of Hilton Rose Hall Resort, and managing director of Jewel Resorts, Carol Bourke, could not hold back the tears as her staff paid tribute to her.
Bourke, renowned for her altruism and ability to embrace persons from all walks of life, sat patiently, then danced with vim and vigour as Rebel sang several all-time favourites in her honour.
It was 9 a.m., an unusual time for Rebel to be on a stage performing, but Bourke was worth every minute of the glowing tribute.
"Not even at Rebel Salute do I perform at 9 a.m.," he declared, noting that only Bourke could get him out of bed and "have me inside a hotel ballroom at this hour; you know she is very special to me."
HEART WAS FULL
By the time he was finished, Bourke's heart was full, and in no uncertain terms, she spoke of how blessed and highly favoured she was to experience genuine love from her team, family and friends.
Several members of her staff were in attendance, and so was her favourite lychee cake.
Those who know the woman who made history when she was named managing director of one of the largest hotel chains on the island, are aware that it's never about her.
"It's about my team, my friends, my family, my amazing husband who always supports me and my truly amazing daughter."
Bourke, who has been working in the hospitality industry for over two decades, spoke about her passion for the industry and warned that if it is not in "your blood you can't do it, because it is not a nine to five job. It takes a lot out of you."
She said it was love and respect that takes her through life, while her blessings come through the people she has interacted with throughout life.
Bourke was presented with a number of gifts from her team, including a watch, which symbolised a stitch in time.
"Two days ago my watch just stopped working, today I am presented with a watch that is not likely to stop during my lifetime."
Bourke did not need to say much, the unconditional love was obvious by the outpouring of her staff.
"Boss Lady, we thank you, we appreciate you and we know your passion, your love and we are confident that many of us would not be here today if it wasn't for your love and passion for your job and most importantly, the passion for your team. We salute you," Oral Heaven, the company's area director of sales stated in his tribute.