R.I.P. Cookie Man

R.I.P. Cookie Man

Today?s blog is very personal.

In my position I work with a lot of public relations professionals, whose responsibilities include being nice to the media to win favor and positive press. For the many I have dealt with during my 25 years in the trade press being nice and thoughtful has come easy, and it has mostly been my pleasure to work with them during hectic work weeks. It is always nice to stop for a moment to joke a bit, gossip about the business and exchange pleasantries while getting our respective jobs done.

One such PR person was Hilton?s Tom Wingham, who I knew for at least 15 years. I was shocked last night to learn he passed away, supposedly peacefully in his home sitting in a chair with his laptop and cell phone at his side. I don?t know Tom?s exact age, but I am relatively sure he was in his mid-40s. In all my years, he was one of the nicest, gentlest PR people I dealt with. He was always smiling, always had a kind word and was always working.

His last position was with Hilton?s DoubleTree brand. In addition to writing the brand?s news, he became what I affectionately refer to as The Cookie Man. He spent a lot of time during the past year traveling the world passing out DoubleTree?s famous chocolate chip cookies. It was perfect job for Tom.

I am writing about Tom this morning because he died too young, and maybe because he worked seemingly so tirelessly. I followed him on Facebook and he was always off somewhere around the world spreading DoubleTree cheer. If not that, he was busy supporting his family.

Like someone else I know all too well, I am not sure he took enough time to take care of himself. He was too concerned about other?s well being, and that is a beautiful legacy. But it has caused me to pause and think about how hard we are all working these days, and I know how hard the life of a hotelier can be ? starting from the doorman and working all the way up to the C-Suite.

In memory of Tom the Cookie Man, I urge you all to find more time for yourself.