McDonald’s Employee With Down Syndrome Retires After 32 Years

Longtime employee Freia David has retired from McDonald's after 32 years of service on Aug. 29. (Facebook/The Charles River Center)

Longtime McDonald’s employee Freia David celebrated her retirement from the fast food industry after an incredible 32 years of service on Aug. 29, according to local reports.

David, who has Down syndrome, has manhandled the fries station for the Needham, Mass. location five days a week between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for the last three decades.

The festivities took place at a familiar place—David’s former place of employment. Management invited community members to celebrate David’s huge milestone. A banner that read, “Come Celebrate Freia David’s Retirement After 32 Years,” hung underneath the golden arches.

More than 100 people—family, friends, and customers—filled the fast food restaurant and were treated to complimentary french fries.

David was gifted two cakes and a necklace with a pendant in the shape of McDonald’s french fries. She also received cards, Disney stuffed animals, and a proclamation from the state House of Representatives.

Former McDonald's employee, Freia David worked at the Needham location for 32 years. (Facebook/The Charles River Center)
Former McDonald’s employee, Freia David worked at the Needham location for 32 years. (Facebook/The Charles River Center)

The 52-year-old’s co-workers praised David for her work ethic and commitment.

“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,” said Timothy McCoy, Owner Operator of the Needham McDonald’s location.

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

Assistant Manager Oscar Gonzalez, who has been there 10 years, echoed similar sentiments. “She’s always happy, she’s always on time,” Gonzalez told Needham’s Wicked Local.

Store manager Rony Sandobal added, “She loved every day.”

David began her shift in 1984 after Charles River Center, an organization that supports people with disabilities “by offering a comprehensive array of high quality, individualized social, living, and work experiences that promote meaningful community inclusion” matched her for employment with the franchise.

“She’s one of the first people we placed in a job,” said Anne-Marie Bajwa, chief operating officer at the Charles River Center.

David said she enjoyed her career at McDonald’s.

“This was the best thing that ever happened to her,” said her mother, Anneliese David. “Everybody knows her here.”

But Freia is looking forward to her days of retirement.

“I get to relax and watch television,” she said.

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