Art Mason, an 88-year-old McDonald’s employee, who began working for the burger chain 30 years ago, has decided to retire.
A resident of Wayzata, Minnesota, Mason was a factory worker before signing up with the restaurant. However, after he retired 30 years ago, he found himself “bored to death.” When a local McDonald’s manager asked him to fill in for a few weeks, he decided to give it a try. Those first few weeks turned into 29 years, longer than any other employee at the restaurant. He has outlasted the manager who originally hired him and even the franchise owner.
Now, Mason has decided that the time has come to hang up his apron. He will officially retire on April 10, just two days before he turns 89. A local celebrity, customers are happy to hear his voice when they pull up to the drive-thru.
“I come here every day because of him,” one customer told KARE.
“He is just the sweetest, sweetest guy,” Melissa Wildermuth said. “So happy, so happy, like every day’s a great new day for him.”
Mason, who had polio as a child, has grown tired of sitting for extended periods of time, so he has decided that the time has come to take a break. His presence, however, will be missed. Locals are used to being greeted by the smiling veteran, who is never without his beloved baseball cap, which shows off his pin collection that displays the thousands of destinations around the world that his customers have visited.
Recently, McDonald’s has been targeting seniors for part-time work, even recruiting in senior centers and churches, as well as placing want ads on the AARP website. The company says that older workers are friendlier and more punctual than younger workers.
In addition, seniors have increasingly looked to supplement their often-limited retirement savings. Between 2014 and 2024, the number of working Americans aged 65 to 74 is expected to grow 4.5 percent, while those aged 16 to 24 is expected to shrink 1.4 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Fast-food chains also benefit from hiring seniors since they get years of experience for minimum wage. The industry average was $9.81 an hour last year, according to the BLS, which keeps benefits robust in a sector that has experienced growing transportation and raw material costs in recent years.
Meanwhile, Mason is getting ready to say goodbye to McDonald’s in just three weeks. He jokes that he hopes to make it that far. With any luck, the company will show its appreciation by throwing Mason a well-deserved retirement party.