On a recent morning at the Clayton McDonald’s, Margarita Mink was loving it.
Dozens of customers had filed into the restaurant on U.S. 70 Business to show their appreciation on her last day before retirement.
The Super Awesome Seniors, a club of 55-and-older adults who eat at McDonald’s six days a week, showered Mink with cakes and hugs, thanking her for making their mornings better. They also voted her into the club, which gathers every day but Sunday.
Mink, 71 and a native of Spain, smiled ear to ear as she sat down with the group she had been used to serving for so long.
“Every day, we have all had fun together,” Mink said. “They have to make room for me now.”
Mink, who lives in Clayton, moved to the United States in 1971. A McDonald’s employee for 29 years, she worked at the restaurant on Lake Boone Trail for 10 years before transferring to Clayton.
“I love my job,” said Mink, who worked the cash register most days. “That makes it easy for me.”
She loved her job so much that she continued working even after winning close to $400,000 in the state lottery last fall. Mink’s Quick Pick ticket in the Carolina Cash 5 game matched all five numbers in the Sept. 26 drawing, beating odds of 1 in 575,757.
After learning she won, Mink told the state she was going to make some investments and some home repairs and then visit her family in Spain. She wasn’t quitting work.
“It wasn’t time yet,” she said. “Now it is, and I’m going to enjoy my life a little bit.”
Louise VanHoy, a member of the Super Awesome Seniors, said Mink deserved the adulation for being so friendly and sweet to customers for so long.
“She’s the soul of this place; she really is,” VanHoy said. “It’s amazing how someone can come into your life like she has.”
Curt Williams, who named the Super Awesome Seniors group, said Mink makes every person she talks with feel special.
“Some people just know how to make you feel better,” Williams said. “You can’t feel down around here.”
Mink said she’s looking forward to retirement and wants to help out at a food bank or food pantry. She said she will also work in her garden.
“I want to retire the right way,” Mink said. “I have to do my duty as a citizen.”
Dunn: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104