Illinois Hospital Janitor Is the ‘Piano Man’

Rolando Maaba does more than just clean the hospital

— -- A janitor at an Illinois hospital is doing much more than just making sure the hospital stays spotless for its patients.

Rolando Maaba is also providing a sense of calm and peace in an often stressful place by using his daily 15 minute breaks to play the piano in the lobby of the Rockford Memorial Hospital in Rockford, Ill.

“The bottom line is I want to be helping guests who are waiting for their relatives after an emergency or a surgery and they’re worried,” Maaba, 55, told ABC News. “When I play, they forget all their worries.”

“I want to help them just relax and the doctor will take care of them,” he said.

Maaba, a native of the Philippines, moved to Rockford in 1999. He began working for the hospital last year and says he started playing the piano by simply asking if he could.

“They didn’t know me then but when I played they liked me,” Maaba said of the hospital staff.

Making Maaba’s piano skills even more impressive is the fact that he does not read music but just plays by ear. He and his wife, with whom he has two grown children, used to play music together at local nursing homes before they both started working for the Rockford Health Systems.

“Now our schedules are too much,” he says.

The exposure Maaba received from playing piano at the hospital led him to another music gig, playing the piano every Wednesday night at a local restaurant, Francesca’s.

“I want to thank everyone at the hospital,” he said. “I love them.”

And just because Maaba plays the piano at his workplace, it does not mean he does not take his job seriously. He even times his music, he jokes, so as not to miss a minute of work.

“I play for 14 minutes and 39 seconds a day,” he said.