“If you take care of the job, the job will take care of you,” are not only words but actions 38-year-old Antoine Lawrence lives by after 16 years of working at The Grand Ohio Condominiums, 211 E. Ohio St.
After arriving in the city from South Holland when he was just 22 years old, Lawrence said he received these words of wisdom from the former manager of Grand Ohio, who recently retired, at the time of Lawrence’s hiring 16 years ago, granting him the opportunity he continues to hold devoutly through all these years.
“The manager at the time saw something in me as a young kid,” Lawrence said. “When I first started he told me, ‘If you take care of the job, the job will take care of you.’ I took that and I held that in my head for years and still hold onto it.”
Lawrence makes taking care of his job seem effortless. With his professional manner and overall low-key disposition, he adds to the sophisticated yet easy-going ambiance of The Grand Ohio Condominiums.
As head doorperson, Lawrence claims to know 90 percent of the nearly 600 tenants by name. This comes as part of the many duties he manages; besides making the residents feel comfortable in their homes, he also heads security of the building, making sure the residents’ safety is a top priority.
“A big responsibility is security, making sure the residents are safe and feel safe,” Lawrence explained. “I think that's the biggest responsibility for sure. Making them feel welcome when they walk home, when they walk into their home."
Lawrence likes to keep it “low-key” in his free time. He enjoys playing Spiderman games with his 5-year-old son Mason, listening to his reggae and R&B tunes and washing his car.
Once safe to go out again, he said the first thing he plans to do is take his wife out to dinner.
Lawrence knows how to put a smile on the residents’ faces and make them feel comfortable. Even when facing challenges of his own, Lawrence describes his job as overall humbling.
“Sometimes, some days, it's challenging, but, you know, to put a smile on the resident's face, I think that says a lot, you know,” he said. “Making the residents feel comfortable and welcome when they walk into their home — it's a very humbling experience. It's very humbling.”