Findlay, Ohio: When a worker shortage shuts down her favorite restaurant’s dining room, a retiree takes out an apron to help

“I was here on opening day and have been coming here often,” Bonnie August, 81, told CNN at Culver’s restaurant in Findlay. “I think we all have our favorites like custard. And I look at the flavors of the day, list them, and pick those dates to meet up with friends.”

Danielle Doxsey, a franchised fast-food restaurant owner, said business crashes and staff shortages forced her to close the dining room. “We don’t want the staff to be overwhelming,” she explains.

But that didn’t sit well with Bonnie. “I don’t like eating in my car,” she commented. “They just need to open.”

So she decided to do something about this problem. “I walked to the door,” said Bonnie, “And Dani came to the door and said, ‘Oh Bonnie, I’m sorry, we don’t open the door.’ And I said, “I know. I want to apply.”

Bonnie is a great-grandmother who formerly worked in a factory after her husband was injured. “I just went through that factory and asked if I could fill out an application,” she said, “And they called me and asked if I could start Sunday night on the third shift. no. And I said that would be perfect. I want to work so I’m ready all day for my kids. … So midnight work is amazing.”

Leaving her job at a factory, Bonnie August now works for a local Culver franchise.

Since retiring in 2009, she frequents the local Culver’s with friends and family, so she knows she has to help.

“I got to know the owner’s grandparents, parents and last name, they are wonderful, wonderful people and I want to help them, that’s the main reason I came here,” emphasized Bonnie. “Just to help them stay open or open.”

In many communities, the economic pandemic has put the future of local restaurants at risk. One of the biggest problems businesses like the Culver’s franchise in Findlay face is labor shortages. Follow Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 10.4 million jobs opened across the country in September and just 6.5 million workers hired.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, millions of workers have leave the workforce, which means workers still looking for work now have choices about their employment, and it shows: A record 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September.

That’s where lurking helpers during the pandemic, like Bonnie, have stepped in.

“My to-do list says runner-up,” she said. “I’m not running anymore, I’m just going as fast as I can. … Just walking, taking orders, carrying bags, walking out to the car and showing everyone.” and talk a little bit just to see if I can make them smile.”

Bonnie said the return to work came as a shock to her friends and family.

“Well, first they asked me if I was crazy. ‘You’re not going back to work.’ And I said, well, I’ll stay for a while. … I knew that if there was a way I could help, that was what I had to do. “

Doxsey agrees Bonnie is not seeking any more attention. “She did it because she really wanted us to do good, and she wanted to see us thrive,” she said. “It’s just that she really wants to help and that’s all she cares about.”

Bonnie said she hopes her story can inspire other anonymous helpers to give back the things they love. “Dancing in the water. It can be fun,” she said. “If you have a chance to give, give it back. We’ve been given a lot.”


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