It’s A Merry Christmas World

Every day at Mickey D’s!

Group-I-1200

A few members of the Mickey D family.

The following video (inspired by the eighty-three-year-old barber who gives haircuts for hugs in Hartford, Conn.)

reminds me of the spirit of the members of the family who greet me with

Smiles

Laughter

Kindness

Acceptance

and

Friendship

Every day of the year.

Thank you from the bottom of my old heart!

I am happy to introduce

My Micky D family.

Jose-Manager-1200

Jose is the manager at Mickey D’s.

He’s one of four brothers.

I met him at the window before he was married

and had a baby boy on the way.

Eli will arrive in January!

He is sweet and smart and competent.

And he is good to me.

I hope he is with us for a long time!

Cynthia-night-shift-1200

Cynthia helped to start the first Mickey D’s in Victoria thirty years ago.

She works part-time now, at night, and trains new employees.

She operates a hair salon too

and sings beautifully.

She’s funny and charming and totally generous.

Matthew-1200

Matthew is a young man with an old soul and a genuine sense of fun.

Often, he works with Cynthia at night.

I know he’s on the box when he says,

We aren’t making iced coffee tonight, Mam!

I tell him he’s a dead man.

Matthew always has something funny to say.

Jose-II-Post-1200

This is Jose.

He lives with his grandparents

while he attends college here.

He is ambitious with real plans for his future.

He is sweet and kind and smart.

The kind of guy who pays for the old people in line behind him.

He has the softest, thickest curly hair I’ve ever seen.

If he’d been a child of the sixties, he would have had a world class Afro!

April-1200

April Mae

Her name is not Mae

When she told me her name, I said it wouldn’t do.

We had to find another name for her since she is not an April kind of girl.

Since I couldn’t think of a name, I call her April Mae.

For fun.

Fortunately, she has a great sense of humor.

Alma-1200

Julie is engaged.

She has a tattoo of a Gothic cross on her ring finger.

It looks good with her engagement ring.

She’s been here as long as I can remember.

And, she knows how to make my coffee, perfectly.

When I order, I hear her sing out on the box:

One Miss George Special!

Buffy-post-1200

Sarael  is a delight.

He didn’t talk to me much for a long time.

But he smiled.

And didn’t seem to mind when I could never remember that he was in high school.

He is a student at the local college now.

He lifts weights too.

I call him Buffy now that he is so muscular.

And, he grins and looks genuinely happy to see me.

His brother, Oates, works the grill.

Oscar-1200

Omar is the manager’s brother, one of four.

He is a big hulk of a boy with a perennial smile.

He has an equally delightful twin brother, Oscar, who used to work here too.

I am amazed that one woman had four such wonderful, kind, smart and sweet boys!

DSC_0143

This young woman has been at Mickey D’s for a long time too.

I can never recall that her name is Alma.

There is a reason for her anonymity.

She works hard.

She doesn’t complain

or

make foolish small talk.

She is the kind of person who makes the world work.

And she stops sometimes to talk to me.

And to fetch a smile from her pocket.

Shana-II-1200

Ah, Shauna.

Recently, she had her thirtieth birthday.

She’s worked for Micky D’s for thirteen years.

Almost half of her life.

Standing at the pay window.

She can transform herself into the most glamorous girl you ever saw.

She lives with her mother and her brother.

She helps me complain.

And she’s charming.

Girls-1200

Catalina is working the pick-up window with Julie here.

She is a beautiful girl.

And she is friendly too.

Houston-Student-1200

Monique has a million-dollar smile!

She and a friend from Houston worked here last year.

They attended Victoria College together.

Her friend is in college in Houston this year,

but I was delighted to find Monique and her smile back at Mickey D’s this year!

Whitest-Boy-1200

Steven is my quiet boy.

He makes wonderful iced coffee,

He had little to say to me for a long time, but he smiled.

I suppose he finally gave up and talks to me now.

Blond-Kid-looking-out-1200

Kyle is the quintessential PR guy.

He always takes great care to make my coffee perfectly.

And, to serve it with a dash of charm.

Maria-post-1200

Maria is an elegant woman.

She works two jobs.

And she is Christina’s mother.

Christina-II-1200

Christina always smiles.

She is cheerful and funny.

I can always count on her to provide a bit of sunshine.

Kid-2-to-10-1200

Joseph doesn’t talk much.

I had a hard time persuading him to smile for the camera.

And, of course, I screwed up the shot!

But he looks handsome with his serious face anyway!

Braces-Kid-1200

Glenn works the pay window from two to ten.

I had a hard time getting him to look at the camera and smile.

Trust me, folks, this is a great Glenn smile.

(I did get a toothy smile once, but the braces showed and he doesn’t like that!)

Day-Girl-1200

Marina always smiles.

She works the front counter, but she comes to the window

Or smiles and waves when I come through.

Braces-Girl-1200

Brijida usually works the pick-up window.

She has the biggest smile

and the cutest braces!

Cruz-Web-1200

Cruz is the kind of guy we’d all like to hire!

He is as unflappable as anybody I ever knew.

He goes about his job quietly making stuff work.

And he is always the same Cruz.

Kind and smiling and helpful!

I am always happy to see his face in the window!

Break-Time-post

I finally got Jason as I was driving through the line.

Actually, he’s a hard-working guy.

He was just on break here!

A Gallery

Snapshots of the working crew

(Click on a picture to enter the gallery)

To my Mickey D family:

May you always have a heart filled with happiness

and

A hand to hold.

To my friends in the WordPress community:

Thank you

For your kindness

For your generosity

For your support

and

For your friendship.

Merry Christmas!

85 Comments on “It’s A Merry Christmas World

  1. How on earth did you get these people to take time to group pose. It speaks volumes of McDonald’s spirit and goodwill. I’m very impressed… very. Every single one of the photos does the entire group and each individual justice. This may be the highlight of some of these kid’s careers – even their lives. Just way, way too cool.

    Like

    • Thanks, Ray. All of these kids are such fun and so good to me. We had a good time with this little project. I was afraid I would flub their individual photos, but they liked them, I think. I met Jose several years ago when he was working the windows. He’s been such a sweetheart. He and his brothers too. I just asked if he wanted me to snap the group and he called all of them out front. Nobody was in a hurry to start the line back! They’re like a big family there. And they accept me right into the group. That means a lot to me. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy these kids! Thanks for taking time to read the post, Ray. 🙂

      Like

  2. Maria looks an elegant woman and you are a sweet one. It is clear that you are comfortable there and treated well too. This is the first time I have viewed this fine post.

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    • I’m sorry that I didn’t see your comment, Mike! Yes, the kids all treat me like family there and tell me all about themselves and what they’re doing and hope to do. I go there every day at all hours of the day and night so I know all of them. You can imagine that I’d find out why they’re there and what they think since I am never at much of a loss for chatter… Late one night, when I went to take Matthew’s photo, he said I might as well take my time since the girls were up at the other window putting on their makeup and stuff! We had a lot of fun with the project. Thanks for stopping by, Mike.

      Like

      • I miss comments all the time and even respond to them a year later, when I find them.
        You are lucky to have a warm place to hang out and enjoy good coffee and some laughter. The kids are the real lucky ones, but they are too young to know that.

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  3. Oh my goodness these are WONDERFUL photographs!! You should be in show biz, lady! I would have LOVED to have been there to see you at work…a true artist.

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    • Good grief, Elisa! I didn’t see this! Thank you so much. I’m glad you like the photos. The kids and I had loads of fun with this project. They are all so very good to me. I was afraid I’d flub the photos of them at the window since I was snapping from my car in poor light. But, they liked their photos. I just collected them one at the time as I drove through the line. Since I go at all hours of the day and night, I caught all of them. 🙂 We had a good laugh about the group thing. They just stopped the line and all came running out to get in the “family” photo. Chuckle. Young people are so enthusiastic. I can hardly be less so myself when I think about the odds they’re up against and how cheerful they are.

      Like

  4. This is such an overwhelming and touching post, so much personality and charm in every shot! How wonderful for you all to have each other in your lives!

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    • Thank you very much! The kids are bubbling over with enthusiasm and fun every day. I do enjoy them so much. I get my happy fix with my iced coffee every day! I appreciate the visit and the follow, Patti! Have a great 2014!

      Like

  5. Hi George! I’ve just come over to see your WordPress blog stats but they aren’t posted >>> never mind! >>> simple fact is, however few or many posts you make, I think they’re WONDERFUL! Adrian 🙂

    Like

  6. Wow! Those are lovely acknowledgements. Reading them, I sensed the great passion and ownership you hold about the team.

    If all these folks had to a 360 degree feedback about you, how do you see them acknowledge you?

    Shakti

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    • We like each other. It’s as simple as that. They are a fine bunch of kids who are very good to me. I have no idea what they’d say, really. I never thought about it. I appreciate their happy faces and their kindness. I can hear them saying something like, “Yeah, Granny’s cool”. Chuckle…
      Thanks for stopping by. Have a great 2014!

      Like

  7. Oh goodness, these photos and descriptions are lovely! I’m currently in the midst of starting a project like this with homeless people, and this is definitely something to aspire to. I stumbled across your blog today and I think you have a truly gorgeous perspective on life. Wonderful!

    Like

    • Thank you, Candace. I’m glad you stumbled by to visit! Chuckle…

      Follow your heart and you won’t go wrong. I’m sure your passion for the work will come through. Please let me know when the project is published.

      Hope you have a great 2014!

      Like

  8. I think what I like so much about your post is that it gives the people dignity. You have shone the torch of high value on the human beings working in an under valued occupation. Hats off to you girl. I won’t get into what I think politically of McD as a company…but I’m glad they make you a good coffee! All the best to you for 2014 🙂

    Like

    • Hi, Susan! Yes, they are a great group of young people. And they do a really good job too. And they smile. That’s the best part of their work. Thank you for stopping by! Hope you have a bumper year on the farm! 🙂

      Like

    • Thanks, Richard! Yes, I had a great Christmas. I hope you did as well, and I wish you a fine New Year! I’m looking forward to more wonderful portraits in 2014! 🙂

      Like

  9. I was going to comment on your previous post about the great composition and colors of the flower photo, but it wasn’t possible to comment there.
    Great portraits of the McDonalds employees. Did you use to work there? I used to work as a delivery driver at a pizza/hamburger place when I was younger. it didn’t pay good, but it was a fun place to work because all the others that worked there where around my age and most of them were girls 😀 Fantastic times!

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    • No, I never worked there, but I have picked up my coffee at that same McDonalds for over thirty years. The kids there are fun. They’re always smiling and joking and telling me what’s going on with them. I got to know them one at the time during snippets of conversation as I drove through the line. I’m nosy anyway so I ask who you are and what you’re doing! I bet you did like working with an almost all -girl team! 🙂 The photos were shot from inside my car into florescent lights so they are the best I could do with a fast snap from my car window! Thanks, Davide. Have a great 2014!

      Like

  10. Such happy faces, George. What a lovely tribute! I’m not surprised that you call them ‘family’. Love the song too. Happy New Year to you and the Mickey D team. 🙂

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    • Hi, Sylvia! They are a fun group! I was happy to meet your family! And, such a great portrait too. I know you had a wonderful visit with them in the snow, I think. ? There have been such storms across the east that I”m losing track of who is snowed-in! Have a very Happy New Year. Looking forward to your treks around the globe next year! 🙂

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  11. What a lovely tribute to these hard working, poorly paid individuals. You have photographed them beautifully and I love how you present them as unique and absolutely lovable people.

    May 2014 be good to you.

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    • Hi, Linda! I just went to Iceland and was astounded that it isn’t perennially snow-covered! 🙂 Yes, these kids are such fun and so very good to me. They have tough jobs, but they’re always joking and smiling. It’s a characteristic of young people that I love. I look forward to my morning run to Mickey D’s for coffee because I get my happy fix too! Thanks for visiting and have a very Happy New Year!

      Like

  12. George, I do believe this is the kindest, most generous and caring personal essay ABOUT people connected with Micky D’s or any other fast food establishment EVER. It’s certainly the nicest I’ve ever come across. Clearly you ENGAGE with people and they engage back. Wonderful. All of you create a state of Grace by connecting. Thank you for sharing all those beautiful smiles. Lucky you –and them too. )

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    • Thank you, White Buffalo! I believe that it is only by connecting with each other that we survive. These young people give me hope for a better tomorrow. It is fashionable to believe that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, but I only have to drive through the line at Mickey D’s to understand just how wrong that view is. I am lucky, indeed, to know these wonderful kids! 🙂

      Like

  13. What an enormous staff! And how lovely that you know them all, George. I can’t think of anywhere that I’m on first name terms with everyone. That’s a sad reflection, isn’t it? Must try harder! (but I never use McDonalds 🙂 ) Hope 2014 is kind to you, George. You deserve it!

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    • I don’t know all 45 of the staff at this store, but I see many of them every day. Try Mickey D’s iced coffee. I add extra cream and substitute the liquid sugar with Splenda. It’s better than Starbuck’s. These kids are just easy to know. I started picking up my early morning coffee there over thirty-five years ago. They knew what we early birds ordered so I didn’t have to stop at the order box. They just handed my coffee out the window. I’m something of a creature of habit so it’s a special place for me. Thank you, Jo. I hope 2014 is kind to you too! 🙂

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    • Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year, Jared! I have picked up my coffee there for over 35 years starting when I was a social worker and in a great hurry to get to work to make the coffee there. The staff at this store has always been especially warm and friendly. Maybe it’s something in the water! I don’t find this level of graciousness and fun at any other drive-thru I’ve ever seen. The kids are a kind of “family”. They give me hope that everything really is going to be okay! 🙂

      Like

    • Thank you, Christine! Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you and your family too! I could use a little of that New Zealand weather about now! 🙂

      Like

  14. A most wonderful post! So happy to meet your McD’s fam. They are a beautiful looking bunch.
    They all have great smiles – even the ones not smiling – I can see the smiles in their eyes 😉
    This post calls for a {Group Hug}

    Like

  15. What a wonderful post, George! The portraits are beautiful, in words and images. Having worked in the service industry (including fast food), I especially love that you helped us get to know the people and to really see their faces. 🙂

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    • Hi, Robin! Yes, I think all of us should be required to work for six months in a service job as part of our education. We take these people for granted. They are us. Our neighbors, friends, relatives. Real people behind those windows with the cold wind and the blazing heat blasting their faces every time they open the windows to smile at us and listen to our complaints about the service. I’d be willing to bet that a majority of folks couldn’t describe the worker five seconds after they drive away. However, let the store close and we howl to high heaven. 🙂 These kids make me happy. They give me hope that the world is a good place after all. Have a great New Year, Robin! Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  16. Certainly not for the first time, George, I am bowled right over by a post from you. There are three things I really enjoy here. First, well these are wonderful portraits – wow, I wish I could manage something like this – they’re so alive! And then there are your words – I can just imagine you saying them! And three – well three is the combination of the pictures and your words, that makes this post, this presentation of your’s, so wonderfully magic, alive, human and uplifting. I don’t know huge numbers of blogs but, of those I do know, no one does this sort of thing as well as you do.

    I hope you’ve had a good Christmas and that Boxing Day (do you have that in The States???) is going well for you. All good wishes to you for 2014! Adrian 🙂

    Like

    • Ah, Adrian. You’re such a sweetheart. No, we don’t have Boxing Day. Is that a day set aside to punch folks who disagree in the face? I would have loved that when I was young and impatient! Chuckle… I no longer get worked up enough to punch anything. I finally decided that the world works just about as well as it’s gonna’ work during my lifetime, so I’ve settled on looking at the light through the cracks. I can’t work up enthusiasm for photographing or talking about anything that I am not really fond of. Tell you a secret: I threw out, gave away and otherwise disposed of everything in my little world that did not please me when I laid my old eye on it. From kitchen pots to antiques. That’s the way I live now. Utility means nothing to me. Beauty means everything, and I find it wherever I can these days. The faces of those children in the take-out window at Mickey D’s are beautiful. As are their spirits! Have a grand Boxing Day and a Happy New Year! 🙂 George

      Like

  17. George
    It’s been hectic enough that I missed sight of your post. Thanks for all your gracious comments. Sometimes I feel like I just live from event to event. This time it’s the kids, both, who are coming to visit within days from now. To get the visa from Saudi to NY and then from Saudi in NY, shall we say David picked his passport up at 5PM closing time on Christmas eve. And he leaves on the 26th with no time or room for error. Whew! A roller coaster doesn’t have as many thrills as we went through to get the papers lined up. Julia, no problem, she left her wallet on top of the roof of her car at a gas station in California and drove off. No ID, she can’t board a plane to return to NY. Her passport has to go the the NY visa office and she can’t get on a plane without picture ID. Here’s where I melted down and repeated that both kids are adults and must deal with their own adversity. Hmmm…. that’s another story. Anyway, belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you. All the best to you and the parrots in the new year.

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    • My goodness! I hope Julia manages to get a photo ID and makes it to Saudi! Kids! Kelli is forty-five and has it together, thank goodness, in time to take care of me … who does not have it together! Lost my major credit card and found it in the parking lot at the pharmacy. Now, I’ve lost it again just in time for some thief to have a very nice Christmas… Chuckle. I don’t even call the CC company anymore. It’s a helpless feeling to be so far away from the kids when they’re happily screwing up the best-laid plans. Fortunately, they’re young and flexible. I think about you all the time, Victor. I thought about you yesterday … so far away from your family. Is Lisa coming too? It will all come together for a fine New Year’s Eve, I know! I loved the photos of the kids when they were kids. You’re such a wonderful dad. Happy New Year! 🙂

      Like

    • Ah, the kids are wonderful, aren’t they! We had such fun snapping photos for our post. They are such an enthusiastic bunch! And they are so good and kind to me all year. Truly, these kids are a real part of my life. And I appreciate it.

      Hope you and Handsome are having a wonderful Christmas, Carissa! 🙂

      Like

  18. Look at those beautiful smiles! What a sweet post. You’re remarkable, George! Merry Christmas!

    Like

    • Thanks, WL.

      I love those smiles. They make me feel that everything is going to be okay. You “collect” kids too. The real pleasure of our lives is in such connections, as you know. And the fun!

      Have a peaceful Christmas … No gunfights in the street, now! 😉 Chuckle…

      Like

  19. Best wishes to you and your loved ones. How wonderful that you have linked up with these people and that they have you to warm their hearts too. Merry Christmas, George.

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    • They are young and optimistic and generous. They warm my heart! When they greet me every day, I am encouraged that things are going to be okay, after all. They are one of the real pleasures of my life. I loved your day trip with Janne. And how you found a respite from the snow and couldn’t resist stopping for some great images along the way. Thank you for your Christmas wish. We’re going to have a good year in 2014, aren’t we? 😉

      Like

  20. I too have a special time at (as you call it – Mickey D’s) in my hometown in Oz. I thank them all the time but you have done something special, you have told the world how great these young people are…congratulations and a very Happy New Year.

    Like

    • Thanks! These kids represent the backbone of a service economy that we take for granted. And they work tirelessly in difficult jobs that are mostly taken for granted. But, boy do we miss them if the store closes! 😉

      Have a Happy New Year!

      Like

    • Thank you, Ashley. We had so much fun snapping photos in bad light and all. These kids are the best! They treat me like one of them. I do enjoy hearing their thoughts and problems and hopes and dreams. The work is hard, but they are always cheerful. I could learn a thing or two from them if I’d stop complaining long enough! Chuckle. Have your self the best little Christmas ever! 🙂

      Like

  21. Oh, George, what a wonderful post! I smiled all the way through seeing all the bright eyes and warm smiles. These are the beautiful people. Kindness and warmth shine through their very faces. I enjoyed seeing and reading about every one. Merry Christmas to you and to this beautiful Mickey D family! 🙂

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    • Now you know why my point of departure is Mickey D’s! They are wonderful people. I do so enjoy them. And, they’re so funny and kind and full of life. If they can be optimistic, so can I! 🙂

      Merry Christmas to you too.

      I will tell the kids Merry Christmas for you! 🙂 They are proud of our post and will be happy to know that you liked it!

      Like

  22. What a wonderful tribute to these individuals that you have taken the time to learn something about. The season should be about caring and giving of ourselves. You are indeed blessed, George, and seem to make every day special. May you have joy, peace and love in 2014!

    Like

    • Thank you, Jo Nell. I wish you joy, peace and love in 2014 too.

      These kids are so very kind to me. I love visiting with them. We all had fun snapping the photos. It was a great way to get ready for Christmas. Some of them will work all night tonight and some will work tomorrow. They used to close every Christmas, but they’re forced to stay open now that everybody else does. Jose tries to rotate the schedule so that everybody has time with family. They’re flexible and help each other. It’s a great group of people. Real people. I can go there with bedhead hair standing up all over my head wearing yesterday’s clothes and it makes no difference. They’re just as happy to see me as if I’d dressed for the occasion! 🙂 They give me hope, Jo Nell. We will be all right.

      Like

  23. Such kind looking folks, each with a smile that speaks volumes. Thanks for taking the time to introduce them to us so that we too know they are special and, more importantly I suppose, special to you. I’ve got a similar ‘family’ at my special coffee shop here in town – isn’t it nice when you get to know these hard-working folks. Thanks again for the tour, and a very Merry Christmas to you George. D

    Like

    • Yes, I do enjoy these kids. They are a special group of people who make me feel happy every day when I go for my coffee! Their jobs are not easy, but they always manage to be cheerful and fun to be around. We all had fun with the photos. 🙂
      Thanks for the good wishes.

      A very Merry Christmas to you and Joanna too!

      Like

      • It occurred to me that the head office at McDonald’s might be very interested to know of the good work of this franchise and this team. Perhaps you should send a link along to the ‘big guys/gals’ wherever they may be? Just a thought. The franchise might benefit in some way from such positive feedback. D

        Like

        • Thanks for the suggestion, D. I will do that. I planned to send a link to the guy who owns the local franchise, but hadn’t thought further than that. I would like to do anything I could to help. 🙂

          Like

  24. What a lovely, generous way to thank all those folks who obviously look forward to your visits. I doubt that many of their customers even look at them. Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!

    Like

    • Guess what delicious treat I had with my Mickey D iced coffee? Strollen. (I think that’s the way it’s spelled). Wow, I am going to be ill from eating too much, I know it! I love it. And the English Christmas Pudding too. I am really enjoying both!
      I love the kids at Mickey D’s. They’re so much fun and so nice to me. We had a good time with the photos as I drove through the drive-thru and snapped them in the windows for a couple of weeks. I finally got this thing posted. I’m having large prints made of the kids for Christmas. It was fun for me. Merry Christmas to all of you! Hugs for you and Hazel. Wish you were here for potato soup tonight! 🙂

      Like

      • I called you yesterday late after we got back from Dallas but there was no answer. I did talk to Kelli and Charlie. We’re in Memphis tonight and will be at Tina’s tomorrow. I’ll call later.

        Like

  25. You are so beautiful dear George, what a beautiful team they are. Best Wishes for them, in their life. Thank you, Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday, love, nia

    Like

    • Thank you, Nia. Yes, they are beautiful people. And they are so very kind to me. We had fun with the photos too!
      Have a peaceful and blessed holiday, Nia. You are a beautiful woman with a heart of gold! 🙂

      Like

  26. A most beautiful and special post. You’ve brought some humanity and “put a face on” on the valueless robots, the exploited workers of the world. Merry Christmas

    Like

    • Thank you, Carl. These kids are so much fun and so kind to me. We had a good time with the photos. I was shooting from my car into the fluorescent lights so this is the best I could manage! Yes, real people work in the fast food industry. People who could be your children, neighbors, friends. And they stand on their feet all day shoulder to shoulder with their co-workers. It’s a tough job and a tough life. We could smile when we drive through … at least that. Have the best Christmas with your family, Carl! 🙂

      Like

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