After 32 year career, McDonald's honors Needham woman with Down syndrome

NEEDHAM, Mass. — Thirty-two years is a long time to work in one place and at a local McDonald's, it was a reason to celebrate Monday.

The Needham restaurant honored Freia David, who spent three decades changing the people around her with with every batch of french fries she made.

The McDonald's on Chestnut Street welcomed Freia David to her retirement party the way she welcomed customers for years -- with joy.

"I'm happy to be here," she said when she walked in.

All of the meals were happy with Freia, employees said.

"Her smiles, her enthusiasm and her daily hugs made our restaruant more than just a restaurant," McDonald's director of operations Bob Broughton said. "It made us part of Freias family."

As the first employee in a program through the Charles River Center, Freia started cleaning tables and worked her way up. %

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"Working on the french fries," Freia explained her last position.

"We taught her how to make french fries," Broughton explained.  We finally found a position she loved. 

"In our busy lives, sometimes we forget to dance," Charles River Center's Chief Operations Office Anne Marie Bajwa said. "But Freia doesn't forget to dance at the fryalator."

At this special retirement, It was Freia's time to be served.

She got a proclamation from the state, a crystal model of McDonald's, a french fry neckace and her favorite, a Minnie mouse.

"I expected a little party but not a party like this," Freia's mother, Anneliese David, said.

Longtime customers stopped by to say thank you all day.

"She took a pure delight in opening the door," Jimmy said.

Her family at McDonald's said Freia offered them so much more than they could ever offer her.

"Through her hard work, dedication and perservence, Freia has accomplished all of this and that's a lesson to be learned from," Bajwa said.

"We love you, we appreciate you, we respect you and we're all better people for having you in our lives. Thank you Freia," Broughton said. %

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Freia often goes to McDonald's, even on her day off. She likes a hamburger, no pickle and a sundae with her fries.

The restaurant said all of her meals will be on the house from now on.

You can learn more about the Charles River Center here.