*Willie ‘Mr Willie’ Calhoun began his career at McDonald’s in 1957 when he was 14 years old and Dwight D. Eisenhower was president. Fifty-nine years later, after working at several McDonald’s locations around metro Atlanta, he is a long-time employee of the restaurant on Peachtree Boulevard in Chamblee, notes The Post. Mr. Willie has been preparing food at this location for over 20 years.
Last week, the staff and management gathered at the store to celebrate Calhoun’s 73rd birthday, and to acknowledge his long career with the company. Maj Andalibi and Mary Portalatin, the store’s husband-and-wife owners, have worked with Mr. Willie since they bought the restaurant 16 years ago, and they say he’s one of their most reliable employees.
“His responsibility is cooking anything there is to be cooked. He does everything,” said Andalibi.
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Portalatin said, “I worked a number of years next to him in the kitchen. Owner or non-owner, sometimes you gotta get things done. And I just love working with him. He’s a wonderful guy. He’s got a great attitude back there, a wonderful sense of humor. We’d be working, and we would have heavy business up front … it’s incredible how he can do the work, be cheerful at the same time, and sort of get everybody around him in a good mood. He just puts his heart and soul in everything he does.”
Calhoun says he enjoys working at McDonald’s, and appreciates the owners and management for never telling him that he’s too old to continue working. “This is a very special day for me,” he said during the celebration.
Genie Sanders, another long-time McDonald’s employee at various locations, worked alongside Willie for nearly 30 years. She once teased that he had been at the restaurant far too long.
He joked, “Well I guess I’ve been here so long, I’ll just die here.”