Antonio Ruta will be retiring from Glendale Community College this semester after serving 19 years as a custodian, but don’t get the impression the 62-year-old has lived a typical average joe life. “I have so many experiences. I’ve been to lots places; Europe and Asia and here in America and Canada.”
At age 21, Ruta started a life as a merchant marine, transporting food and supplies to different parts of the world, including Saudi Arabia and Greece. He did that job for 12 years, and says his five kids, who are grown, are unaware of their father’s previous adventures. “They don’t know about that life,” he said laughing.
Ruta was born in the Philippines, and came to the U.S. in 1983. He worked in hospitals before working at Glendale College. His mornings are spent at the Garfield campus, then at the main campus in the afternoon. But now, he says, “I’m tired, and I’m getting old. I just want to enjoy [myself].”
There has been much that Ruta has enjoyed about Glendale Community College, though. “The people, my coworkers,” he said. “The salary is good. We have a pension and health plan…I enjoyed the atmosphere.” He also made it a point to thank all of the administrators, previous and current, for allowing him to work at GCC.
While Ruta currently lives in Burbank with his wife, he said he intends to vacation back to the Philippines this winter. “It’s like Hawaii,” he said, as he is not a fan of cold weather. He will come back to California in the spring and then possibly plan a move to Las Vegas, because, as he said, “the houses in Vegas are a little bit cheaper.”
But Ruta said he will seek his family’s approval first. If the Vegas move goes through, he would try working at private schools, but hopefully the workload wouldn’t be too much. His main goal has already been accomplished. “Since I gave a good education to my kids, I’ll probably just enjoy myself.”
Ruta is short on words, but not of life experience, and maybe the next adventure is right around the corner. “Sometimes you say, ‘Oh I’m going to travel to Europe.’ But some of the circumstances, you cannot predict. Only God knows.”