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July 09, 2021

88-year-old McDonald's worker lovin' it

A Welsh employee may be the fast-food chain's oldest. It beats staying at home bored senseless, he says.

When you envision your 88th birthday, where do you see yourself?

If the answer is "behind the counter at McDonald's," you're either an economic cynic that people regularly come up with excuses not to talk to at parties, or you're Welsh World War II veteran Bill Dudley, who may be the oldest McDonald's (MCD.TSX) employee in the world.

The former cabbie, known as "Old McDonald" to his wife Margaret, told The Sun last week that he took the gig out of boredom and vows, "I'm going to carry on until I drop." Even with a pacemaker, angina and replacement knee, Dudley greets customers and wipes tables twice a week for six hours.

According to News North Wales, Dudley took the job at McDonald’s seven years ago after spending 35 years at British Steel, a decade at aircraft manufacturer Airbus and more than 15 years as a taxi driver. Why keep working after a good 60 years of employment? In Dudley's case, even with 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren running about, all that peace and quiet got to be a little unnerving.

"Sitting at home can get boring. I'm not a drinker and my wife won't let me touch the garden as she does all that," he says. "After four days off at home I look forward to coming to work because I like talking to people and meeting people — that's why I loved the taxi work.”

While McDonald's has played coy when it comes to questions about Dudley's seniority, a spokesman noted that “Bill is probably one of the oldest working for us in the world.” That's only made him a greater asset to boss Terry Johnson, who called Dudley “the face of the business” who is extremely popular with the customers because “they like an older face.”

Dudley is well aware that he was in the Royal Navy taking fire from German torpedo bombers when he was the same age as many of his coworkers. It's a big part of the job's continued appeal.

“A lot of them are much younger than I am, like a whole different generation,” Dudley says. "But we’re like a family and I’m their father."

-- Jason Notte, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...