JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - On Ellis Avenue, a familiar voice greets customers at McDonald’s every morning. But most of her customers recognize that voice as belonging to a kind server for her loving heart.
If you pull up to the speaker at McDonald’s in the morning, you’ll receive a greeting along the lines of, “Good morning my love. Serving you. May I have your order?”
And when you leave her presence, Willie Mae Taylor will say something like, “Stay beautiful and blessed and come back and see us.”
That voice and that smile are known well in South Jackson. She’s worked at the McDonald’s on Ellis Avenue for over a decade now, and she’s awesome.
“She’s always on point on everything. She’s on point. And she recognizes my voice,” said one customer who had just pulled up to the window telling Taylor, “I can’t stop smiling!”
“She makes my mornings. I mean, she’s very, she’s just so sweet, you know what I mean,” another customer said as she waited on her food in the drive-thru.
“I like to brighten people’s day, I’m a people person," Taylor said. "And I just go with how I’m feeling that day, and usually if I’m having a bad day then they lighten my day as they think I’m lightening their day.”
That caught the attention of Kolean Sanders, the founder of the Geneva Foundation, an organization whose mission is to empower and bring hope even in the worst situations. Sanders made friends with Taylor, even asked to follow her on Facebook.
“And I just thought what a great gift to be able to stand there and welcome that person in the morning time, just to be able to say good morning me love, and how important love is,” Sanders said.
So the idea was born. The Geneva Foundation’s first Kindness Award went to Taylor, who never saw it coming. She smiled and wiped away tears as she was showered with gifts by representatives of McDonald’s corporate and the Geneva Foundation on Valentine’s Day.
Taylor said she loves out loud because her customers are her family now.
“I lost my mom at an early age and didn’t really too much immediate family, so I took them on as my family,” she said.
It isn’t lost on McDonalds’ corporate what a special employee they have.
“If you were to look in the dictionary and look at the word ‘Hospitality,’ there would be Ms. Willie Mae’s picture,” said McDonald’s representative Nedra Lowery.