No days off: Arby’s workers sing praises of 91-year-old senior employee

Published: Feb. 22, 2022 at 6:55 PM EST
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ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) - Roast beef, crinkle-cut or curly fries, all come hot out of the kitchen at the Arby’s on 465 Emerson Drive in Elkhart.

Not only do they have ‘the meats,’ they have what General Manager Rosemary Gresso considers the company’s top employee.

“He does everything. He’s just amazing,” Gresso says.

He’s 91-years-old and his name is Jack Burkett.

“You’re 91 and you work at an Arby’s in Elkhart. What are you doing here,” I asked. “Just chilling time. I don’t know what to say. I just do a lot of stuff,” Burkett replied.

Cleaning tables, wiping down booths or washing the dishes, Burkett has no beef with doing more than he is asked to for his favorite spot in town.

“Before my wife passed away, we used to come in here three times a day for breakfast lunch and supper,” Burkett says.

“He came in and he says, do you need someone to do your lobby? I’ll do it for free. We said you can’t do it for free Jack, but we will hire ya,” Gresso says.

“I said I need an extra job I think. And they said, when do you want to go to work? And I said, today” Burkett says.

Ten years later, Jack is no joke when it comes to doing his job.

“He usually works seven days a week, but I don’t even put him on my schedule anymore because he just shows up,” Gresso explains.

As for Burkett’s secret to staying strong, he says some apple cider vinegar will do the trick.

“We have to drink that everyday. I’m just like...okay. And he is like, did you do it yet? And I was like, not without you,” Gresso says.

For a guy that has eaten a lot of Arby’s, Burkett appears to be in great shape.

“Yes! Yes, pretty good shape,” Burkett said laughingly.

Not only is the food his favorite part about working at Arby’s, it is almost always what Burkett wants to eat.

“You can’t beat the roast beef. Roast beef is out of this world. It’s a hamburger but it isn’t,” Burkett says.

“When are we going to have a roast beef sandwich together? I think it is about time don’t you think,” I asked. “Uh, yes. I’ll order up,” Burkett replied excitingly.

Like Burkett has done at Arby’s for the last decade, he served up another table. Though, this time is was for him and I. On the count of three, Burkett took a bite into his roast beef sandwich along with his side of curly fries.

However, before getting back to work, his appreciation for his ‘home away from home’ did not go unnoticed for the people that made it possible.

“My supervisors are super! They are the best in the Midwest. This is where I want to retire.”

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