Turning 100 may be reason enough for many to adopt a slower pace of life, but not for one Pennsylvania McDonald’s employee who became a centenarian on March 3, and really has no plans to retire from the job she loves.
“I get paid. I pay my bills, and that’s good. I never had a lot of money but I always have enough,” Ruthie Shuster, who works at Irwin McDonald’s in Westmoreland County three days a week wiping tables, told WTAE.
As for her milestone birthday? “To me, it’s just a number,” she said.
Ruthie has become well known at the popular eatery, also the site of the Big Mac Museum, for her smiles, songs, and dancing. “I became a widow when I was 50. I’ve been working ever, ever, ever since, and I like working,” she explained. “On Fridays, about 30 come and we all sing.”
Before the pandemic, Ruthie was also busy with after-work activities like dancing. She said: “I go dancing four days a week. Can’t go dancing now, there are no dances around.”
The 100-year-old great-grandma is one of the seven siblings and a former seamstress who has worked at the Irwin eatery for 26 years. “I meet a lot of nice people,” she told KDKA, “everybody is nice to work with and we got a good manager.”
“Ruth is a very special lady,” restaurant owner Michael Delligatti told the Norwin Star. “If you didn’t know Ruth, she made you feel like you’ve known her for all of your life.”
On her 100th birthday, the beloved McDonald’s employee drew huge crowds of socially-distant well-wishers, featuring balloons, cake, and an appearance from Ronald McDonald himself via television, who sang a favorite song of hers, “You Are My Sunshine.”
Ruthie’s neighbor, 29-year-old Elizabeth Jane Deslam, also organized a parade and a ceremonial ride in a fire truck for the centenarian.
“We [had] the mayor [come] to give her the key to our city,” Deslam told The Epoch Times via social media, “[and] 20 fire trucks [came] from different areas.”
Mayor Bill Hawley even declared March 3, “Ruthie Shuster Day.”
Irwin McDonald’s staff presented an overwhelmed Ruthie with a huge stack of birthday cards from around the world, a plaque, and a bobblehead. Sadly, Ruthie’s boyfriend passed away just a few weeks before her milestone birthday, yet Ruthie’s party turnout proved that love and laughter remain ever-present in her life.
A great-grandmother of five, Ruthie is leading by example. “I taught [my grandchildren] the most important thing in the world is love, and we all love each other,” she said.
As to hanging up her uniform anytime soon, the elderly lady said: “No way I’m going to retire. I love it here. I like my job, meeting people.”
Watch a video of her 100th birthday:
(Courtesy of Elizabeth Jane Deslam)