92-year-old still working at a Michigan McDonald’s

WEBBERVILLE — Almost everyone who works with Mary Smith calls her “Grandma.”

At age 92, Smith is a beloved employee of the Webberville McDonald’s, just north of Interstate 96’s Webberville exit.

Long after her peers retired or died, Smith keeps going. She rises five days a week to do three hours of food prep work at the fast food location. On occasion, she gives up sleep to pull an all-nighter at a casino, but still manages to make it to work on time.

She’s worked there for 15 years.

“I love it. I love my job,” she told the Lansing State Journal . “I like the people, too. They’re all very nice to me. I’ve never had anyone speak harsh to me,”

In fact, someone always greets her with a fresh cup of black coffee as she starts her shift. Co-workers walk her to her car if it’s slippery or help her lift heavier objects.

“She’s a great worker. She’s wonderful,” said restaurant manager Alisha Stefanski. “She comes through and makes sure she gives us hugs every morning. … We all love her.”

At a restaurant known for giving teens their first jobs, Smith defies age expectations, preparing food from 7-10 a.m. five days a week. It’s a job that requires her to stand as she preps and to travel back and forth to the walk-in refrigerator.

Smith is pretty steady on her feet. And she rolls a mean breakfast burrito, about 150 of them each day she works. Over a decade of doing that job, she’s probably rolled about 400,000 of the breakfast item.

Not bad for a 50-year smoker of unfiltered cigarettes (she quit at age 72) and a survivor of ovarian cancer at age 25 and breast cancer at 80.

There have been several stories in recent years around the globe about the oldest McDonald’s worker, anywhere from 88 to 95 years old, but the corporation doesn’t comment on age so it’s unclear if she can claim the title of oldest worker.

Mike Dickerson, who owns 11 McDonald’s locations including the Webberville restaurant, said she definitely holds the distinction of the oldest worker in his restaurants.

“She’s just a sweetheart. She’s in every day that she’s scheduled. She’s just a pleasure to be around,” Dickerson said.

Smith was born in Colorado as Mary Korrey but moved with her family to Lansing at the age of 2, in 1927. Her mother died when she was a newborn and her father, an immigrant from Lebanon, moved to Lansing to find a wife among Lansing’s Lebanese immigrants.