Gael described as reliable and inspirational
Lisa Bailey

It happened on April Fools’ Day but it was no joke. Staff members at Deeley-Harley Davidson Canada in Richmond surprised their coworker, Gael, with a cake April 1 to celebrate her 25 years of employment with the motorcycle and accessory distributor.

Gael, whose official anniversary is April 3, thought she was paging staff to come and congratulate a new dad on staff.

“It was kind of funny,” she says in describing her surprise.

“They said, ‘You’re speechless. You’re never speechless!’” Gael says with a laugh.

The staff’s gesture is indicative of the sense of community fostered through meaningful employment.

It’s one of the things that Gael says she likes most about her work and the workplace.

“(It’s) the people, being around people I like,” she says.

“It’s like a family in a way. They treat you with respect and fairness.”

Gael says she looks forward to going to work every day and enjoys using the computer.

“I wanted to get on computers for many years,” she says, adding she received on-the-job training and has seen advancing computer technology impact her duties as a mail and filing clerk.

Executive assistant Diane Botterill, who has known Gael for about 10 years, describes her as “very reliable” and “very inspirational.”

“She’s a very good employee and she brings laughter and sunshine to the office,” Diane says, adding Gael “gets along well with everybody” and has learned not to “sweat the small stuff.”

Following brief reflection, Diane says: “It’s funny because all of us think we have problems and we see Gael getting on the bus every day and doing what she does, it’s really something else.”

Attributes that Gael brings to her work are her positivity and a great memory, Diane says.

The latter was evident at the recent celebration where Gael shared stories from the past quarter century.

Amongst memories she shared with posAbilities Today was her first motorcycle ride. Donning a helmet and boots, she recalls getting a lesson on how to get on the bike.

She also recalls how she was first hired by the business to work full time in the summer following a placement through a course. She worked part time in the winter and eventually became a full-time employee.

Gael lives independently and meets every other week with Richmond life skills worker Ruth Muralles, who isn’t surprised by her long work record because Gael is very committed and loyal.

“She’s a good example of independence and what she brings to work. She works hard and she’s very proud of her job,” Ruth says.

Like Diane, Ruth says that Gael sparks many smiles. She and her coworkers enjoy some good-natured ribbing and Gael is “extremely happy” to be working for the business, Ruth says.

Noting the importance of communication in the workplace, Ruth says that Gael is willing to listen and asks for opinions. She will speak up for herself as well.

Meaningful employment also helps to foster a sense of purpose and independence. Ruth notes Gael, who’s also involved in Special Olympics and other social activities, “likes to be busy.”

Gael says she appreciates this as well as the paycheque.

“I get bored at home,” she says.

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