There’s an inspiring woman in Forney who is teaching us more about what it means to find your own happiness.
She’s found that through her job and years of hard work. And you won’t believe the milestone she’s celebrating this summer.
It's a big deal to celebrate 30 or even 40 years on the job, right? Can you imagine half a century?
That’s how long Connie Claxton has been working for the Whataburger franchise based in the Mesquite. She started in July 1970.
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"I feel very fortunate that I'm still being able to do it and be a part of everybody,” she told NBC 5.
At 79 years young, she's one of the longest-running employees you'll probably meet anywhere.
"You just do good when you stay somewhere and just work at it,” she said.
From restaurants in Mesquite to Terrell and now Forney, she's worked every position in the establishment you can imagine. Her managers said she knows the orders of regular customers by heart, a rarity in today’s fast-paced world.
"I wait on about the same people lots of times during the day,” she said. “They've all gotten to know me, I've gotten to know them.”
She also has Whataburger to thank for bringing her other joys in life.
“Many years ago, one of my favorite things that ever happened at Whataburger. I married one of my customers,” she said.
Her husband has since passed on but she continues to smile, even behind her Whataburger-themed mask. The coronavirus pandemic had forced many eateries to close their dining room, but she still delivers service with a smile at the drive-through window, a friendly presence in an otherwise uncertain world.
"The fact that she does the same things day after day after day. And even after all these years, it's still exciting for her,” said Forney Whataburger general manager Don Jansky. "Knowing that she's still here, doing them day after day, even amid this pandemic, is very invigorating to all of us.”
When Connie suffered from other tough moments life had to offer, she said she always felt supported.
"Whataburger has seen me through all of them in a wonderful way," she said. "I always felt like they took good care of me."
So why 50 years? That’s because hard work is in Connie’s veins.
"I was born in a family in North Dakota, at a farm. And everybody just worked. that was just the way of life,” she said.
And she has no intention of stopping any time soon.
"As long as the Lord gives me health enough to be able to do the job, I plan on being here as long as they'll have me,” Connie said.
Connie works the breakfast and lunch rush most days. Her official work anniversary will be in July.