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50-year Burger King employee shows uncommon loyalty, work ethic

Emma Oliver has worked at various Burger Kings for 50 years. The company saluted her with a celebration and a trip to Hawaii.

Special to the Times

Emma Oliver has worked at various Burger Kings for 50 years. The company saluted her with a celebration and a trip to Hawaii.

Emma Oliver says in 1959, the old Burger King on Haines Road and U.S. 19 offered only a screened patio for diners.

No dining room.

Customers placed their orders at the Pinellas Park restaurant through a sliding window, and Whoppers cost 39 cents.

No drive-through.

Oliver remembers it well because she worked for Burger King then. And she works for Burger King now.

Yes, Oliver, 65, has spent 50 years with BK while raising a family of three. The corporation saluted Oliver Wednesday with a celebration at her current store on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N in St. Petersburg.

"I couldn't see moving some place else, so I built my seniority up here," Oliver said. "I just like Burger King out of all of them.

She received gifts, including a free trip to Hawaii she will take with her daughter Darlene.

"It's just an amazing accomplishment," said corporate vice president Jose Cil, a mere 10-year employee.

For several years, Oliver worked as an assistant manager in various Burger King locations, including the Haines Road store and another location on Central Avenue. Both have closed, and she gave up her management position a few years ago.

Now she works three mornings a week, and retiring is not in her immediate future.

"I want to, but I don't want to," Oliver explained. "My daughter says I'm going to push 60 years."

Oliver's achievement may not seem glamorous, but it's really a remarkable statement about loyalty, dedication and a work ethic that's less common in today's America.

Fifty years from now, I'm pretty sure Burger King won't be saluting another Emma Oliver.

That's all I'm saying.

50-year Burger King employee shows uncommon loyalty, work ethic 07/01/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 2, 2009 5:36pm]
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