Building Service Workers Award Honoree Saul Otalvaro: Forty-Six Years and Counting

Saul Otalvaro has been working in the same building for nearly half a century

08 Nov 2019 | 04:43

Saul Otalvaro is 86, but looks much younger. He says it’s his work that has kept him in such good health. Otalvaro has been a porter at the Dayton Towers in Rockaway Beach for 46 years. Every year, he says, people ask him when he’s going to retire and he always tells them “next year.” But he’s just not interested in sitting around all day.

As a porter, Otalvaro attends to tenants needs, acting as everything from handyman to super. The Dayton Towers have seven buildings, and each building has twelve floors. There are over 1,400 apartments in total. Over the nearly five decades he has worked there, he has seen young children grow up, and older tenants pass away. He says some tenants who move away don’t like their new building as much because he isn’t there. He says he shows up early to work, stays late and never misses a day. And his commute from Jackson Heights is no walk in the park.

Otalvaro was born and raised in Colombia. He wanted to pursue a career as a luxury bus driver, but they told him he was too old. So he came to New York at age 39, and has been working ever since. He and his wife of 45 years, Aleida, enjoy traveling to places like Colombia and Cancun. They have two daughters and three grandchildren.

He shows up early to work, stays late and never misses a day.