Longtime bartender still serving drinks at Renaissance Hotel

Posted at 5:37 AM, Jul 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-26 09:34:09-04

If you've had a drink or lunch at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Phoenix, chances are Rhonda Benston-Showman has waited on you -- and she probably remembers your name and your drink.

Rhonda moved to the Valley from South Dakota.

"In 1975 I appeared here at the hotel and here I am," says Rhonda. And 42 years later, Rhonda is still here.

She's still serving up the drinks and has the stories to go along with them. She's waited on everyone from big business people, bank robbers to old school Hollywood A-listers. Her first celebrity, Gene Autry.

From there, the list goes on: George Burns, Carol Channing. Debbie Reynolds, and her favorite, Burt Bacharach.

"This is Betty Ford," says Rhonda as she points to a hotel ticket glued in the scrapbook. "I couldn't ask for her autograph so she signed her ticket and I went in the back and I cut it off and took it home and put it in my scrap book. The next day I came to work and the Secret Service wanted to know why I cut her name off."

She still has the ticket and even remembers some of her worst customers. "Zsa Zsa Gabor was probably the worst person I had ever met in my life."

But she did end up meeting the best person in her life --her husband Ken. They've been married 38 years.

You could say the job has changed her life but really Rhonda hopes she can just be a bright spot in someone else's day.

"I feel like a princess in this hotel. Walking down the hallway, it's so beautiful. It's my hotel."