When Ronel Anand first got wind that Covid-19 might jeopardise his career as a long haul flight attendant with Air New Zealand he wasted no time in checking out new opportunities.
“I applied for leave without pay and started looking straightaway,” says Ron, who worked for the national airline for 15 years.
Having made the move to the 777 flights fairly recently he knew that as one of the last to arrive he would be one of the first to leave.
“There was a list of companies that had approached Air New Zealand with vacancies and Ryman Healthcare was one of them.”
Ryman was looking for security guards to allow only essential visitors into its villages and Ron quickly sent in his application.
“I applied to a few companies but Ryman was the first to get back to me within 24 hours which impressed me,” he says.
Soon after that his role at Air NZ was disestablished and his career with the airline was grounded, just like the fleet.
“It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and because I had secured this role I had peace of mind that I would still have income and would be able to support myself.”
Working the 3-10pm shift on the gate, he soon got to know the residents who would walk around the village grounds and once the alert level moved from 4 to 3, he got to know the relatives who were then allowed to visit.
“They were all very welcoming and appreciated what we were trying to do. There was always a thank you and a ‘how are you doing’ and they often delivered cakes and biscuits.
“Some residents even brought us pizza and offered us a heater for the winter!”
With the move to Level 1 the security guards were no longer needed but the village team quickly found other work for Ron to do.
“Now I’m working at reception and will soon be starting on the bar downstairs. I’m just filling gaps where needed, in maintenance or wherever.”
Now that he is working inside the village and getting to know even more residents, Ron says he has fallen in love with the place and can’t imagine doing anything else.
Feeling a part of the Ryman team is a huge factor too.
“The people have been great here, both the staff and the residents. They were all so welcoming and the culture is amazing, always positive and ready to help.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time over here, and I feel so settled and comfortable. I’m now looking at what other opportunities there may be within Ryman because I really want to stay.”
As for flying, Ron says there is no looking back now.
“I’m not missing flying!” he laughs. “Being on the ground I’ve noticed my sleeping and eating patterns have improved.
“And being able to see my family and friends more often has been wonderful too.”