- Associated Press - Saturday, December 26, 2015

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - At 95 years old, when most people are well into their golden years and decades beyond the workforce, Harriett Clopper still drives herself to work to her job at McDonald’s on Sharpsburg Pike in Hagerstown - something she’s been doing for the last 20 years.

Clopper has the distinction of not only being the fast-food restaurant’s oldest employee in the nation, but the most dedicated, at least according to her colleagues.

“If I could get a 1,000 Harrietts, I’d be a happy man,” said Mark Levine, owner and operator of several Hagerstown-area McDonald’s. “She treats the customers better than I treat the customers. She is the nicest greeter and host here. She makes everybody feel right at home.”

To celebrate her 95th birthday and 20 years as a greeter at McDonald’s, Levine hosted a surprise party for his star employee.

Surrounded by co-workers, friends, family and Ronald McDonald himself, Clopper was visibly stunned when she walked through the doors Monday morning ready to start her workday.

What the pint-size dynamo heard above the flash of cameras and cellphones, were plenty of cheers and well-wishes from a packed crowd.

“I’m just in shock,” she said. “I’m just flabbergasted.”

Dressed in her uniform, which includes a vest displaying some 80 pins recognizing her outstanding performance, Clopper was all smiles as she posed for seemingly endless pictures.

“She says ‘the secret to longevity is to keep working,’” Kathy Yates of The Golden M Co. in Hagerstown said in a written proclamation honoring Clopper. “… People love Harriett because she makes them feel special from the moment they walk in the door. She’s young at heart, has a great sense of humor and is proud of the fact that she works at McDonald’s. In essence, she is our brand, the McDonald’s brand.”

Clopper, who said she has no immediate plans to retire, has had a job most of her life. She worked 27 years at the Fairchild aircraft plant in Hagerstown, before retiring in 1979.

“The young people look up to me and look out for me,” Clopper said, about her much younger colleagues. “I appreciate that they help me take the trash out and make sure I arrive home safely in bad weather.”

Clopper said her fondest moment on the job was when a customer she didn’t know handed her two $50 bills, wishing her a Merry Christmas.

“(That is) proof that her ‘can do’ attitude and strong work ethic did not go unnoticed,” Yates said.

___

Information from: The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown, Md., https://www.herald-mail.com

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