San Luis Obispo resident Gordon Paul has been eating dinner at the Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center dining room for more than two decades.
Staff members say Paul, a Korean War veteran and former Cal Poly professor, has become a part of the Sierra Vista family during his nightly visits over the past 25 years.
Paul and his late wife, Alice, first started eating dinner at the hospital when one of their favorite local chefs took over in the kitchen.
"I don't cook and I don't do dishes," Paul said, "and the price is right."
The hospital community treated Paul to a special celebration for his 90th birthday on June 20.
Physicians, nurses and staff helped celebrate an evening that featured Paul's favorite foods: shrimp cocktail for an appetizer, with baked chicken, asparagus, potatoes and rolls for dinner.
Dessert? Strawberry shortcake — Paul's favorite.
"Gordon is one of the most positive and independent people I have ever met. He is loved by so many employees here at Sierra Vista," said Nancy Walters, patient advocate at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center. "The expression on his face when I told him we wanted to celebrate him for his birthday was so touching. He said he wasn't used to being the center of attention."
According to a news release from the hospital, Paul served in the Navy during the Korean War and began working as an accounting professor at Cal Poly in 1969.
"It is an honor to have Gordon eat dinner with us each night and he will always be a welcome member of the Sierra Vista family," said communications manager Krista Deans.