He may not be a professional comedian, but Bob Boles knows how to tell a joke.
And if you’re looking for a laugh, look no further than The Coffee Shop at Providence Manor.
That’s where the 73-year-old serves up most of his zingers, along with morning coffees to residents.
“His laughter is infectious and he can bring a smile to anyone’s face,” beamed Danielle Preston, Recreation and Volunteer Coordinator.
“You come down for coffee but really you’re there for Bob, his jokes and the atmosphere he creates. He brings the laughter.”
Boles has been volunteering with the long-term care home for 10 years and during that time he’s amassed quite the following.
When the jokester is behind the counter, no doubt, it will be a packed house.
There’s no stage or spotlight, but Boles works the room like a true entertainer, going from table to table, dropping one-liners here and wisecracks there, until the entire crowd is in stitches.
*Mic drop* or maybe in this case *spoon drop* is more appropriate.
“I’ve got a lot of regulars, yeah. I tease them a lot, but they can all take a joke,” Boles chuckled.
“You can tell a funny one to some people, a serious one to others, and one that’s a little raw to another group.”
“Bob makes them feel like regulars and they have this sense of belonging,” added Preston.
“It gives residents that sense of familiarity which I think is important in long-term care.”
The cheeky barista started volunteering as a way to keep busy in the mornings.
His wife and sister-in-law were already volunteers at Providence Manor, so he decided to give it a shot.
He admits he was nervous at first, but those nerves quickly disappeared as soon as he met the residents.
“They’re all my friends. We’re like a close knit family, so you want to make it as fun as you can for them,” said Boles.
And Boles’ definition of fun, means clowning around.
“They’re old, they’re not dead. They enjoy a good laugh and some of the jokes they tell me would make your hair curl too!”
And his wit is just one of the reasons why Boles was given the Award of Distinction at this year’s volunteer appreciation event at Providence Manor.
Preston wanted to surprise him, so she played a trick of her own.
She only told a few staff members about Bole’s win, and even arranged for his wife, who no longer volunteers with the home, to attend the ceremony on the down low.
“Bob is very modest, but you could see it, it moved him and that’s not an easy thing to do. I know that moment was special to him,” said Preston.
“It was kind of emotional because I’ve never received anything like that before,” added Boles.
“I’m not here for awards or praise, I’m here to help the residents, so I was quite surprised.”
Jokes aside, Preston says Boles is one of the hardest working volunteers she has.
“Bob runs a tight ship, he does a lot of little tasks and reminds me when I have to order supplies,” explained Preston.
“I don’t need to worry when Bob is around.”
And true to character, Boles isn’t resting on his laurels.
He’s back to his old antics, making belly laughs with double doubles.
And if you think the 73-year-old is running out of material, think again.
Boles says he still has a lot more jokes to tell.
“As long as I can move, I’ll be down here.”
Looking to give back? Join our team of volunteers and help enhance the lives of Providence Care’s patients, clients and residents.
Learn more and apply today.