Sun | Dec 16, 2018

Herbert 'Teddy' Tucker: Simply the best

Published:Friday | February 19, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Teddy Tucker and Marjorie Cunningham, district sales manager of Jamaica Tourist Board, cut the ribbon to officially open Teddy's Bar.
The plaque renaming the beach bar at Jamaica Inn after Teddy Tucker.
Kyle Mais, general manager of the Jamaica Inn, with Marjorie Cunningham of the Jamaica Tourist Board and Teddy Tucker.
Teddy Tucker and Peter Morrow, owner of Jamaica Inn, share a good laugh.
From left: Marjorie Cunningham of the Jamaica Tourist Board; Vana Taylor of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association; Kyle Mais, general manager of the Jamaica Inn; and Marilyn Burrowes of Dolphin Cove.
Tucker taking a call from John Turner, former Canadian prime minister.
A happy Herbert 'Teddy' Tucker in the bar named after him.

It boggles my mind to imagine that a person could actually work in one organisation for 57 years!

This is the case of Herbert 'Teddy' Tucker, bartender at the Jamaica Inn hotel in Ocho Rios, St Ann. On Valentine's Day, (February 14), the beach bar was renamed in his honour - Teddy's Bar.

In the words of Peter Morrow, a member of the family who owns the hotel, and who was there to witness the celebration along with dozens of repeat guests, "Teddy is simply the best!"

And to top it off, while general manager Kyle Mais was conducting proceedings on the beach next to the bar, a call came in from former Prime Minister of Canada John Turner, congratulating Teddy on the occasion. Turner is just one of several dignitaries whom Tucker has served during his time at Jamaica Inn - a hotel built on a reputation of catering to the elite.

Morrow said he first met Teddy in 1959 when Teddy was just 16 years old, fresh out of high school, and started working at the hotel.

"One of the reasons I think he's just the best is that he is probably the happiest, most positive, full-of-life person that I've ever met. He really is, and I think that's why everybody loves him."

"Loyalty comes to mind when I talk and think about Teddy," Kyle Mais, the hotel's general manager, told the gathering. "He's professional, and don't forget he is an amazing bartender! He is a stalwart of our hospitality industry here in Jamaica, and we thought it would only be fitting to really recognise him and what he represents - not only for the Inn, but for the entire Jamaica tourism product."

Mais also read some correspondence from satisfied guests who wrote in commendations of Tucker and his dedication to excellent service.

Teddy told Today, "The hotel opened in 1950. I left school '57 and got the job in '58."

Quizzed as to how he's managed to work in the same organisation all his life, he explained: "What makes it so nice are the repeat guests we get. That makes you feel at home."

His journey started as a bar bus - bringing the stocks from the stores and washing glasses, before moving up to bartender.

"I came down here (Beach Bar) in 1970, and I enjoyed it. What also makes it nice is that I live just across the road - Content Gardens. So I just walk or ride my bicycle to work," he added with a smile.

How does he feel about Teddy's Bar?

"That is really nice. I'm the one who built this," he laughed.

And at 73 years old, how much longer will he be at the hotel? Showing his humorous side, he looked up to the sky and remarked: "I don't know, my boss here, he's in charge."