There was laughter, smiles and a few tears on Friday 12 January, as Tuakau’s Tim Pearson had his final day of work at Pukekohe McDonalds.
He has worked at the Pukekohe branch for close to 23 years, and he described his leaving as “more bitter than sweet.”
However, Tim isn’t leaving the organisation, just starting a new job as Operations Manager at Papakura McDonalds, something he is excited to embrace as a new challenge. He has been with the fast food chain for nearly 27 years— starting out in Thames, where he grew up.
Throughout the interview he’s greeted by customers who stop to chat. Tim says he enjoys striking up conversations with customers. Tim says his bosses have noticed his attention to detail. “It’s what makes me me, I care about the details,” he says, as he excuses himself to pick up a piece of plastic off the floor.
“It’s like a LED screen TV,” he explains. “The pixels make the picture. If you get a dull pixel, you notice.”
It goes beyond picking up rubbish though, customers come in and he greets them by name, enquiring about their day, their jobs and family. “I came to Pukekohe in 1995. I’ve made friends on both sides of the counter. You see kids grow up and then have their own kids. You see people grow up and grow old,” he says. “It’s a privilege to be part of it. It’s not just a job.”
He says some customers have become family. “Some of them are like grandparents to my own kids.”
The memories of Pukekohe McDonalds will always be with Tim. “I still remember my first day here. I was really nervous but I remember the lessons they taught me.” It’s his attitude going into the new job too. “I’m not going in to teach them, it’s what they can teach me. It will be different, but it’s a new challenge for me.”
It is the relationships with his customers and staff that he credits to his longevity in Pukekohe. “They’ve been the inspiration for me to do what I do, and to do it for as long as I have. It’s been great.”