Low Wages and a 92-Year Old Employee at McDonald’s

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By: Alex Moore

When McDonald’s introduced its suggested monthly budget for store employees this week, it forgot to add expenses for food and heating, but it also didn’t add in Social Security income. Which, sure, nearly all of its employees don’t get. But one who does is Sara Dappen of Story City, Iowa, the world’s oldest McDonald’s employee at 92.

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NY Daily News reports Dappen has been been at McDonald’s for five years. “”I thought it was more interesting to keep walking around here than to be walking up and down the street, and this keeps me from sitting,” she said.

With the condition of the American low-wage worker coming front and center in the national dialogue this week, Dappen seems to embody another side of the issue: What it means to retire well.

There’s no indication whether Dappen is working because she needs to or because she wants to. She says her favorite thing is talking to customers, and she seems to just enjoy keeping busy.

But some people Dappen’s age wouldn’t be physically capable of doing what she does. And with Social Security getting depleted and life expectancy growing longer, older workers a few generations behind Dappen could find themselves having to work whether they like it or not.

Or, as McDonald’s department manager Elizabeth Holmes so eloquently put it, “I think it’s crazy and she’s going to last to be like 110 working at McDonald’s.”
Watch a video with Dappen here.