In May 10 issue, Russell County News
By Derek Aaron
Russell County News EditorABOVE: Jean Flanagan at McDonald's in Russell Springs
She may be small in stature but she’s big on clean.
For the last 6 ½ years, Russell Springs native Jean Flanagan has made it her business to keep the local McDonald’s spotless and inviting for customers.
“I try to keep everything clean so people will enjoy it and come back,” Flanagan said.
She starts her work day at 7 a.m. sweeping along the baseboards and the floor of the restaurant.
Like a little cleaning tornado, she speeds through the dining room wiping down all the tables and chairs including the legs.
Spills or dust on the window sills don’t stand a chance with Ms. Jean on the job.
“I clean everything just like I’m cleaning at home,” said Flanagan.
As customers come and go, she keeps the restaurant tidy giving a congenial smile and pleasant “Hello” to patrons.
“Jean is probably the most dependable person here,” said Manager in Training Mike Fielding. “The thing I really like about her is she’s like our hospitality ambassador chatting it up with guests.”
The customers see her buzzing around the restaurant and offer compliments on her work or even a friendly joke.
Ms. Jean said a customer recently told her if she didn’t slow down she’d get wind burn.
“It’s refreshing to see someone with such a good work ethic,” said customer Bart Bradshaw. “She’s an all around nice person, too.”
Her customers often tell her the Russell Springs McDonald’s is the cleanest restaurant they’ve visited.
She says there is even a family that drives from Somerset to bring their kids to play at the Russell Springs McDonald’s because it so clean.
“As long as I’m pleasing the customers, that’s what matters,” Flanagan said.
Even Director of Operations, Pam Hancock who oversees five McDonald’s stores has noticed and is pleased with Ms. Jean’s workmanship.
“Her work is very important to her,” said Hancock. “She takes it very personally. We wish we had more (staff) like her.”
No stranger to hard work, Flanagan worked 42 years in the textiles industry until she was laid off from Fruit of the Loom in 2001.
“It would have been good to have started this job when I was young,” said Flanagan. “I love working here.”
Even now after a lengthy career, she continues working full time despite her battle with osteoarthritis and degenerative disk disease.
“This is supposed to be my retirement job,” said Flanagan.
She doesn’t lift as much as she used to but she keeps herself busy cleaning everything from the play room to the bath rooms.
Ms. Jean says continuing to be active keeps her joints from getting stiff and actually helps her arthritis.
“I’m going to work as long as I can,” she said.
The illness makes the bones in her spine so susceptible to fractures they can come not just from falls but from even-day normal activities.
Her spirit however continues strong as she goes to work when others might not and continues to put the hurt, on dirt.