Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v01n01)
LeForge Celebrates Birthday at McDonald's
posted: May 13, 2004
April 26, 2004 - There are no empty spots in the Broad Ripple McDonald's parking lot today. The electronic sign on Broad Ripple Avenue flashes "Happy Birthday Mary". This popular lunch spot is especially crowded as dozens of loyal customers and friends make their way to wish Mary LeForge a happy birthday. Most have a card or a small present, one man brings her a single yellow rose wrapped in yellow paper. Mary tells me that yellow is the color for friends. She has many around her on this day.
Mary LeForge surrounded by two cakes, banners, balloons and a table full of gifts and cards from her friends and customers
McDonald's has been celebrating Mary's birthdays for years. I asked her if it would be polite for me to ask how many candles were on the cake this year and she proudly replied, "Eighty-two!"
She has been a McDonald's employee for five years, working six days a week, logging forty hours. Manager, Mike Harmon, says "Mary is one of our hardest working employees. She would work seven days a week if we would let her. She is very dedicated and doesn't even take breaks. We hope she continues to work with us for as long as she wants."
In 2002 the Broad Ripple store was torn down and rebuilt. While it was closed Mary worked at the 96th Street location. "The people were great up there. When the new Broad Ripple store reopened I told them I was leaving to return to it, they said they wanted me to stay. It was too difficult to get there on the bus because of the schedules, I had to go back to Broad Ripple."
Mary told me of the time that Bob Green, Oprah's diet guru, came to the store. He was introducing the new, healthy salads to the McDonald's menu. She had many photos taken with him, in the restaurant and even out on the Monon Trail and was included in the TV coverage that day. "I've had my picture on the placemats and I've been in about ten newspapers."
Before coming to McDonald's, Mary worked at Habig's for about eight years. "Before that, I was the manager of the Knife & Fork at the old Hook Drugs (now CVS) on College. I managed it for eight years, thirteen to seventeen hours a day, 364 days a year. We were closed on Christmas. It was hard work, but I loved it!"
She says she is lucky to have so many friends, but, in this busy and sometimes impersonal world, the reality is that we are the lucky ones to have her.
Happy Birthday, Mary.
Cake for everyone
Birthday wishes from friends