Our Person of the Week has worked at KFC for 54 years, inspiring others

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Ever go into a place of work and see a senior citizen working and wonder are they doing this job because they have to or because they simply love it?

Our Person of the Week answers that question with a smile.

By 2022, 32-percent of Americans ages 65 to 74 will still be working. Well we want to put the spotlight on a spry little lady who has been working at the same job for 54 years and she even told her boss if you cut my hours I will quit.

She's truly an inspiration to us all.

Marylou Ausborne was born in 1933 right here in Southfield Michigan.

Growing up she remembers a city of farmland and horses before businesses like Kentucky Fried Chicken started sprouting up.

Marylou says, "When I started all of the roads were dirt roads and gravel roads then. Iwas raised in Southfield at 10 Mile and Evergreen."

Known as KFC today, the location on Telegraph is where she started working 54 years ago.

Marylou says, "When the chickens came in, you cut your own chickens and you started right off in the cooking area and from there you worked your way up."

Marylou even met the man who started America's love for finger lickin' good chicken.

Marylou says, "I went to school in Kentucky for KFC and, that was in 1965 or 1964, and I met the Colonel he was a very nice gentleman."

Marylou lost her husband in 1973 and she had to raise her four children alone. All of them have worked at the same KFC franchise, even her grandchildren have cut their teeth here.

I asked Marylou why this place is so special that three generations of her family would want to work here?

She said simply because of the people, the customers. If you treat them right, they will come in everyday.

Marylou's daughter Marian Janiga has been here 36 years. She took over the management duties when Marylou wanted a break.

"There are customers that will stand in line just to have her wait on them," Marian says. "She loves her job she loves the customers I can't get her to retire."

James Mikula took over the ownership of this property with his partners in 1976 and says Marylou was the best part of the deal.

"I don't even know how to describe her locomotion," he says. Man, she's always moving. From 8 in the morning until 4 o'clock in the afternoon, she just keeps on going."

We wanted to know how many chicken dinners she's sold over the years.

James says, "Marylou handles 50% of the business. We're talking about 1,500 people personally that she handles a week."

You do the math, it's a whole lot - millions in fact. But Marylou is more than just a great employee, she's a good person.

Carmen Flemister says, "Marylou is so special. In the morning, if I'm having a bad day, she's always there. She has a heart,  she's like a mother around here. She's always bubbly in the morning, she'll sit down and talk with me."

When snow is up to their ears in the winter and Carmen thinks about calling off, Marylou says if I can make it here so can you. She has no intention of slowing down.

Marylou says, "I don't want to retire, what would you do at home watching them walls you know they don't talk back, I enjoy working."

An inspiration, a hard worker, a survivor and that is why we choose Marylou Ausborne as Our Person of the Week.

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