Thursday, March 27, 2008

Employee Profile - Manuel Gaytan

Manuel Gaytan

When Manuel started working at Brooks in the early sixties, the packing house was on Krome Avenue where the More Ease Nursery is today (you can still see the garage and offices).

Manuel’s first day job was to grade #2 mangoes. In the early morning he would pack hay into the mango and avocado boxes to keep the fruit from getting bruised.

At night he worked in shipping, using a hand truck to load trucks. In one night he would load 6 to 7 trucks. When the first forklift for the packing house was purchased, Manuel took the wheel.

During emergencies Manuel has pitched in to pack avocados until the early morning hours after hurricanes and even put hampers on small avocado trees to save them during a freeze.

Over the years, working at Brooks has been a family affair, Manuel’s wife, brother and son have worked at Brooks.

His favorite avocado? “Booth 8,” he says, “I love’em.” He also uses the avocado as a lotion and cleanser. “When my hands are greasy, rubbing the Booth 8 on them cleans them up right away.”

Manuel may love to fish but his true passion is to travel. Manuel with just a tote bag has boarded trains and buses to travel across the United States. San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, Mount Rushmore, New York City, Washington DC are just a few of the places he has gone. He loves being surrounded by the peace and quiet of the Midwestern plains, and he loves meeting people in the big cities. His last trip was to the Grand Canyon.

Manuel plans on staying at Brooks and working until he can’t. In July, he’ll be sixty five. “People are nice to me here,” says Manuel.

No wonder Manuel, you’re so nice to them.

Manuel has six kids, 17 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. Except for a daughter, his family is in South Miami-Dade. Manuel and his wife live in Naranja.