RHU Tales To Warm Your Heart: After 32 Years, A Devoted McDonald’s Employee Gets A Beautiful Send-Off



Anyone who works a 32-year career is deserving of praise, especially if during those 32 years, they put their all into the job and work diligently and with pride.

And someone who certainly fits that bill is Freia David of Needham, Massachusetts. David worked the French fry station at her local McDonald’s for more than three decades, and is a beloved employee and friend.

Working at McDonald’s is, sadly, often dismissed as not “really” a job, but for many people, it’s a good, honest wage.

David also has Down Syndrome, which means that her employment also comes with extra challenges that other workers might not have to face.

But since 1984, when she was just 20 years old, she’s been heading to work every day, and serving fries to hungry customers.

There are a lot of misconceptions about Down Syndrome, and a lot of unfortunate stigma still attached to the condition. These days, more and more people with Down Syndrome are working to educate others about it, including smashing some false ideas and prejudices that some people might have.

David retired from her position on August 29 last year, and she was given a warm send-off at her retirement party from McDonald’s as well as the Needham community.

David’s career shows that no matter your challenges, you can carve a path for yourself, and her well-attended retirement party shows how wonderful it is when communities come together in support and celebration.


David worked at the Needham McDonald’s fry station for 32 years, 11am to 2pm, five days a week. During that time, she struck up friendships with many of the customers.

Now 52, David is retiring. And so her employers and the staff at the Charles River Center threw her a retirement bash befitting of such a dedicated employee.


David was honored at the McDonald’s where she worked, and the public was also welcome to drop by and enjoy some free French fries.


She was also awarded a certificate in recognition of her achievements.

Timothy McCoy, the owner-operator of the Needham McDonald’s said, “Freia’s smile, her enthusiasm, and her daily hugs made our restaurant more than just a restaurant.”


“She is loved and respected by all of our employees, customers, and anyone she has come into contact with,” McCoy continued.

“We are so sad that she is retiring, but very happy for the time we had to work with her. The McDonald’s of Needham will never be the same without Freia David.”


And David served up some fries one last time.


After retiring, David plans to continue her programs at the Charles River Center. She also enjoys drawing and listening to oldies music.



The Charles River Center has provided its residents with jobs for decades, and the staff couldn’t be prouder of David for her career.

--Credit: Laura Caseley / The Charles River Center


RHU Salute: Acknowledging A Tragedy Without Profiting From It


One of our favorite Super Bowl Commercials of all time. Budweiser's 9/11 tribute featuring their iconic Clydesdales passing the Statue of Liberty, crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, and finally pausing and bowing in a park overlooking the New York City skyline, without the twin World Trade Center Towers - which were destroyed in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

ST. LOUIS -- An emotional, powerful television ad featuring the Budweiser Clydesdales aired only one time, during Super Bowl XXXVI on Feb. 3, 2002.

In the ad, the horses pay tribute to the memory of the fallen of 9/11 with an unforgettable, breath-taking bow. Many people have never forgotten the commercial that only aired once.

Anheuser-Busch's creative team came up with the concept and moved heaven and earth to make the commercial. It had to get approval from members of Congress, the advertising community and from New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

"We filmed in New York City," said Bob Lachky, former executive vice president of Anheuser-Busch Global Creative. "We had a helicopter going over the Brooklyn Bridge. Mayor Giuliani let us into the city -- the only film company of any sort right after 9-11. To actually come into air space with our helicopter to film the Clydesdale ... the hitch coming into Battery Park and it was amazing ... just amazing."

It was amazing, especially considering how New York was a city still hurting. And yet a St. Louis-based company, touched by the pain of the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil, took a risk to help one of our favorite cities and our nation heal.

The company's logo is absent throughout the entire video until the very end.

Budweiser did air an updated version of the commercial on Sept. 11, 2011, the 10th anniversary of the attacks, but the original commercial has only aired one time. 


via kdvr.com


Tales To Warm Your Heart: Awesome Managers And Company Band Together For Bereaved Cashier



In 30+ years of retail, I've had my share of bad experiences. I've been overworked, poorly paid, laid off because my next paycheck would bounce anyway, fired for taking lunch (the day after being chewed out for not taking lunch), nearly run down by a dump truck full of wet sand, earthquakes, nearly drowned by leaking roofs, and something very close a real fire. Hell, I was even been robbed at gunpoint once. But the worst day I've ever had at work was many years ago, and it was far worse for one of my cashiers than it was for me.

We had a cashier, an older woman, and one of our best. Her husband was an armored car guard for Brinks. She got a call one day, a little before noon, that her husband had been shot in a robbery. The first call, they didn't know what hospital he was being taken to, so while we're waiting, I had some decisions to make.

I'm the only manager on duty, which is to say, the only one with keys and alarm codes, and I can't leave the store open without a manager there. But she's in no condition to drive, and there really wasn't anybody else there that I trusted with a crisis like that. The closing manager wasn't scheduled to show for a half hour. So I was actually getting everybody ready to clear the store so I could close it when the second call came, but the closing manager showed up early. (Note: When I mentioned that plan to the #2 guy in the company later on, he said "Well, of course, what else could you do?" I work for some pretty awesome people.) So the closing manager got a 30 second heads up, and we were on the road like a bat out of hell for a hospital about 20 miles away.

Now, all that is tragic, but not, sadly, especially noteworthy. What made it noteworthy was what happened at the hospital, for whom I have nothing but the highest praise.

First (we didn't find this out until later), the ambulance driver deliberately lied to the press about what hospital they were taking him to (this was the big news of the day, an armored car robbery at a grocery store). This gave them about half an hour before the weasels showed up. The hospital had someone waiting at every single entrance to the building to get her out of the public areas and into a place they could keep the press away. They'd danced this dance before, and hated the press with great passion.

Awesome service shoutoutsBy the time we got there, the surgeons had determined that he was already dead, but his body hadn't realized it yet. Now, technically, once they make that determination, the operating room is part of the crime scene, and it's a felony for them to disturb it. But he's technically still breathing, and his wife wants to spend some time with him before he stops. And they're not going to let her into an operating room with blood on the walls up to their waist, so they cleaned him up and moved him to a recovery bed so she could be with him, and the law be damned. (So far as I know, there were no consequences to that decision for the doctors or hospital, other than a good, or at least better that it might have been, night's sleep.)

By then, the press had showed up, feeding on any lurid detail they could get like the vampires they are, but they were stuck in a waiting room, with no access to her.

Then the real performance art began: the Brinks guys arrived. There were three of them: the husband's immediate boss, who didn't have to be there, but felt obligated anyway. The guy in charge of whatever office they worked out of, who did have to be there, and would, I think, rather have been anywhere else (I know I would). And a guy from the corporate office whose title was, I am certain, Vice President In Charge Of Bullshitting The Press. I have never seen *anyone* who was smoother at talking and talking and talking, and saying absolutely *nothing*.

Under other circumstances, it would have been a real joy to watch. At that point, I felt comfortable leaving our valued employee in their very capable hands.

The day of the funeral, some people from corporate came to run the store, so everyone who worked with her could go if they wanted. She had more coworkers there than the deceased. And that's why I'm still working here, over 20 years later.



UK Company Offers Female Workers Paid Time Off During Their Periods


From The Guardian:

A Bristol company is planning to create an official “period policy” designed to allow women to take time off without being stigmatised in the hope it will make its workplace more efficient and creative.

Bex Baxter, the director of Coexist, said the move an attempt to synchronise work with the body’s natural cycles.

“I have managed many female members of staff over the years and I have seen women at work who are bent over double because of the pain caused by their periods. Despite this, they feel they cannot go home because they do not class themselves as unwell.

“And this is unfair. At Coexist we are very understanding. If someone is in pain – no matter what kind – they are encouraged to go home. But, for us, we wanted a policy in place which recognises and allows women to take time for their body’s natural cycle without putting this under the label of illness.”

Coexist, where 24 of the 31 staff are women, is no ordinary company. It manages Hamilton House in the city’s bohemian Stokes Croft quarter, running the space for artists, activists and community organisations. There is a restaurant called The Canteen, and Banksy’s Mild Mild West mural showing a teddy bear throwing a petrol bomb at riot police greets visitors.

Baxter said: “There is a misconception that taking time off makes a business unproductive – actually it is about synchronising work with the natural cycles of the body.

“For women, one of these is their menstrual cycles. Naturally, when women are having their periods they are in a winter state, when they need to regroup, keep warm and nourish their bodies.


The spring section of the cycle immediately after a period is a time when women are actually three times as productive as usual.

“My team here have always been very generous – I’ve been able to take time off when I’ve needed it, but always put it back in again. But until now there haven’t been any formal guidelines.

“For too long there’s been a taboo surrounding periods – I have women staff telling me they’re ashamed to admit they’re in pain. I want us to break down that shame and replace the negativity with positivity. Both men and women have been open to the ideas, especially from the younger generation.

“I was talking to someone the other day and they said if it were men who had periods then this policy would have been brought in sooner.

“It’s not just about taking time off if you feel unwell but about empowering people to be their optimum selves. If you work with your natural rhythms, your creativity and intelligence is more fulfilled. And that’s got to be good for business.”

Baxter and her team plan to formulate the policy as part of a seminar at Hamilton House on 15 March called Pioneering Period Policy: Valuing Natural Cycles in the Workplace.

The seminar’s leader, Alexandra Pope, believes “cycle awareness” helps both men and women become more productive at work.

Pope, who describes herself as a women’s leadership coach and educator in the “field of menstruality”, said: “In the past any proposal to allow women to, for example, have time off at menstruation has been derided by men and women alike. In this context menstruation is seen as a liability or a problem. Or as women getting special treatment.

“The purpose of this policy initiative is to create a positive approach to menstruation and the menstrual cycle that empowers women and men and supports the effectiveness and wellbeing of the organisation. To restore the menstrual cycle as the asset it is.”

She says her seminar will “present a radically new model of the menstrual cycle as an asset for your entire organisation”.

via The Guardian




Tales From The Knife Store: Robot Pirates!


Carolanne omg faceFrom: Kyengen

Preface: My first job was in a knife store in Los Angeles when I was 15 and I kept with it until I was about 22 when the shop closed. The owner was an old veteran from Chicago. I basically had run of the place provided I didn't do anything inordinately stupid, or if I did, I cleaned up afterwards.

So me and one of the guys what got hired during Trial By Combat were working an outdoor swap meet, cause we do that. It's an LA thing I guess. We'd brought yer standard collection of swords, knives, antiques, and weird crap that may or may not be vaguely related to any of that. We're doin' our thing when up comes this bloke. He doesn't say anything, he's got himself a little cart, I "howarya" as a means of proximity alarm, and go back to helping other customers. He's looking around for about half an hour, which is a good trick in a 20x10 booth.

Bloke: "Can you help me?"

Me: "Surely can, what's up?"

Bloke: "I need a lot of swords and guns."

Me: "That sentence just upgraded you to my new favorite person. So what exactly do you need?"

Bloke: "Are you familiar with Pirates of the Caribbean? I need a lot of stuff like that, sabers, cutlass, flint locks, maybe some weird looking daggers."

Ah one of those. Small productions, pretty sure it's going to be the next big thing despite all evidence to the contrary.

Me: "Yeah, that is completely a thing that can happen. How many are we talking about?"

Bloke: "Probably about 70 pieces all in all. And this is going to sound weird, but big, shiny cartoon looking stuff would be best."

Me: "You're right, that does sound weird, but we can do it. Can you come by our regular shop? What you see is what I got here but we've got a lot more there. Though we'll still have to get a shipment in for an order that size."

He said it was fine. I gave him the address and off he went. The shop was closed Mondays (unless I got bored and opened it anyway) so I didn't find out until Tuesday what happened.

The guy went to the store the same day we spoke, which is impressive since it was over an hour away at that point. Sure enough he ordered 74 items, replica pistols and rifles, and a bunch of swords. They all needed to be antiqued (made to look old) and he wanted us to deliver them to his warehouse as soon as possible. He didn't quibble about the price and paid everything upfront, cash.

Freddy Holy CrapI won't go into excessive details but it was a fun week. We had to visit a couple of supply warehouses, which always makes me a little giddy, and then there was applying all the cosmetic changes to make the stuff look old and worn. We finally go to deliver the stuff and I'm figuring warehouse is some storage facility or something uninteresting like that, and holy s**t it's the Disney Staging Grounds for the theme parks!

Bloke: "Oh yeah, didn't I tell you? This is for the Pirates ride. We did some updating to match the movies and decided to replace the props."

Now I grew up in production houses, I'm no stranger to backlots, but I'd never seen anything like this. Incredibly complex animatronics in various stages of assembly, the machinery behind some of Disneyland's optical illusions, and a metric ton of other stuff.

I might have started drooling a little. Plus Jack Sparrow without skin, so that was neat.

I wandered while the boss and the Disney crew looked over everything, even chatted with a few of the engineers who were happy to discuss what they were working on. When all was said and done we were given a couple passes to check out the ride when it was done.

We did some more work with the park once in a while; replaced the weapons used in the Peter Pan show at one point. Sadly our contact, the Bloke who had set up the initial deal, retired, and his replacement decided to deal import stuff from China instead of deal with us. But it was fun while it lasted.