KFC Employee’s ‘Reward’ For Not Missing A Day Of Work In 47 Years Has People Up In Arms
Her Last Day
She walked into the manager’s office with a bright smile. After forty-seven years of service, she was finally retiring.
She didn’t know what retirement plan the company had in store for her and could only pray for the best.
A grandma with people still depending on her, she hoped her job would honor her the right way. But her heart broke when she saw the reward they gave her.
A Thank You
With stemmed tears, Lashonda Michaels accepted the goodie bag from her manager. She tried to maintain her smile but failed. How could they do this to her?
She’d never been one to lose her emotions like this. But she couldn’t believe that after everything she’d done and given, this was all she was getting as a thank you.
Lashonda was only 20 when she walked up the doors of her local KFC in Memphis, Tennessee, looking for a job.
The year had been 1984, and a young Lashonda had only wanted to find a way to make ends meet.
Born Lashonda Deshawn Michaels, she was the firstborn in a family of six. After her dad was incarcerated soon after she turned ten, Lashonda knew her life would never be the same.
Lashonda’s mom, although the sweetest woman Lashonda knew, had her vices. She jumped from one husband to the next, having the rest of Lashonda’s siblings with them.
It didn’t matter that these men were abusive to her or that they used her for the little money she had.
She always seemed oblivious to their shortcomings until it was too late.
A Terrible Night
Lashonda still remembers the day she lost her mom, the sole provider in their family. She’d just celebrated her twentieth birthday and had her entire life ahead of her.
But a long night of quarreling between her mom and current boyfriend ended in a spent bullet, which claimed her mom’s life.
The terrible end was here.
Although no one at the funeral mentioned it, Lashonda knew that all the responsibilities that her mom had handled before now fell on her.
She was still young, yes. But bills in their home still needed to be paid. Some of her half-siblings were still in middle school, while others had just started high school.
They all needed bus fare, food, clothing, and day-to-day amenities. Lashonda had to step up.
At the tender age of twenty, Lashonda stepped into Memphis, Tennessee’s cold, unforgiving streets.
She cast aside her dreams and aspirations and decided she’d find a job to take care of her little brothers and sisters.
No one from her extended family had uttered a promise of assistance to her at her mom’s burial, each of them only offering fake condolences. As far as Lashonda saw it, she was all alone.
Looking For Work
She walked from business to business with her GED certificate, asking if she could find work. She was open to anything.
She would have done everything from sweeping offices to fetching coffee or making food. She would have washed cars on the street or even become a delivery woman if needed.
Anything was fair game at this point.
A Different Time
But Lashonda was quick to learn that nothing good ever came easy. No company or business was willing to hire a twenty-year-old girl with her skin hue and education level.
Times were different then, and Lashonda knew it. She was at a triple disadvantage, and she hated it.
But that was until she saw the KFC job listing posted in the local newspaper.
The Ad In Question
The ad was simple enough. A new KFC restaurant had just opened in town and was hiring.
They wanted everything from cooks to cleaners and cash register experts.
Lashonda’s heart thrummed in her ears as she read the ad several times, knowing her life was about to change. She couldn’t get to town fast enough.
Going Into Town
After ensuring her half-siblings were set for the day, and safely in school, Lashonda took two buses into town.
She searched around until she found the KFC in question.
But just like her, many individuals were looking for a job. Most were twice her age, making her wonder if she’d get a position at the restaurant.
Still, a hopeful Lashonda pushed on. She’d get a job here if it were the last thing she did that day. Everything depended on it.
She wore her best smile before walking into the interview room.
She’d been to many of these already and knew exactly what to expect. She would wow them with her presence.
Lashonda answered every question in the interview to the best of her ability. She wasn’t flustered by any questions and didn’t panic whenever something caught her off guard. She had this under control!
So when she heard the manager call her name at the end of the day while waiting at the restaurant’s parking lot, she burst into tears, thinking her problems were over.
Lashonda started her job as a cook the following day. Her manager gave her two pairs of uniforms and asked her to make him proud.
Since she didn’t have much money to buy items such as shoes and hair products, she used what her mom left behind.
She hoped she’d be able to fit in the late woman’s vacant role.
Her First Day
And so Lashonda began her work at KFC, making meals for everyone that graced the restaurant with their presence. She was lucky her mom had taught her the basics of cooking and applied that to her current position.
The job was simple enough. Lashonda would show up at 8 am and start making chicken and biscuits.
By noon, she’d switch over to burgers. It was a sound system, and Lashonda loved it. But that didn’t mean her problems were suddenly over.
If anything, her job layered on a different problem for her to tackle.
Her minimum wage at the time was barely two dollars, and all of it evaporated the moment the money landed in her hands.
After she cleared all her utility bills and restocked the house pantry, she was barely left with money for day-to-day upkeep for herself and her siblings. She needed a way out of this hand-to-mouth system.
Searching For A Way Out
Among the first things Lashonda considered was finding another job that paid more.
But she couldn’t deny that the restaurant had excellent health insurance, which had saved her siblings on numerous occasions.
She asked her boss for extra hours, and although that worked wonders for her, it opened up a different problem she would have to handle.
She Needs Help
This issue came in the name of a babysitter. None of Lashonda’s siblings were at the age of fifteen yet, with the oldest being only fourteen.
She’d taken an extra six-hour shift at work, hoping to make some extra cash to stabilize things at home. But she knew she couldn’t leave her siblings alone.
She’d need to find a sitter to watch over them or forfeit the extra six hours her boss had offered. Of course, Lashonda found a way to push through it.
She would leave home every day, ensuring she’d cooked two meals for her siblings. She’d also leave the eldest a set of instructions, including ensuring each of the little ones was in bed by nine and that he’d locked the doors before going to bed herself.
LaShonda didn’t know what would await her.
Going Through The Motions
Although the first month of this arrangement was problematic, Lashonda and her tiny family grew into their roles and made it work.
The weeks turned into months, the months into years, and before Lashonda knew it, she was a married woman with kids and a loving husband. But her struggles weren’t over yet. There were still a lot of problems coming her way.
It all began with a phone call on a late Monday afternoon. One of Lashonda’s friends had seen her husband walk into a motel with a woman that wasn’t Lashonda.
Lashonda didn’t know how to handle the situation. She wanted to throw aside her apron and rush to the motel to confront the man. But she couldn’t just leave her post unattended. What should she do? Was a cheater worth her job?
Lashonda’s heart raced as she stood outside the motel, her hand tightly clutching the piece of candy she had received as her retirement “reward.” She took a deep breath and pushed open the door, ready to face the truth.
Inside the dimly lit room, she found her husband, Samuel, standing awkwardly, his eyes widening with surprise as he saw her. But it was the person sitting on the bed that surprised her the most.
The woman, Candesha, looked equally shocked as she saw Lashonda enter the room. Her face flushed with embarrassment and guilt, but she quickly composed herself and stood up, defiance in her eyes.
Lashonda’s body quivered with a mixture of anger and hurt. “Samuel, how could you? After all these years, the sacrifices I made, and the loyalty I showed, this is how you repay me?” That was what she wanted to say, but the words never passed her lips. What would she do?
Caught Off Guard
Lashonda couldn’t believe what she was seeing. She couldn’t believe that her husband, the man she trusted with her life, cheated on her with her best friend.
She had thought of every possible scenario, but this was the last thing on her mind. How could the two pillars in her life do something like this to her?
What To Do?
Lashonda didn’t know what to do. She was frozen in place, wondering what the best route would be to take.
If she divorced her husband for his sins, she’d be back at square one. But this time, she would have more mouths to feed. Could she do that at her age? Was she still capable of pushing herself to that extent?
He Decided To Speak
Samuel quickly pulled a sheet over himself and turned to his wife. A bunch of words were leaving his mouth, but Lashonda didn’t understand a word he was saying.
Was he apologizing? Was he accusing her? Her mind was just too cloudy to make sense of what was happening around her. Could she even snap out of it?
Snap Out Of It!
Lashonda wanted to believe that he wanted to fix things. That he had a valid reason for betraying her in such a horrendous way.
But she couldn’t put herself in the position to listen. So she just turned on her heel and walked out the door. However, her problems weren’t over yet. Her husband wanted to be heard, and he wouldn’t stop until she listened.
Getting It Out
As Lashonda rounded a corner, Samuel grabbed onto her arm and pulled her back. That was when she finally managed to snap out of her trance. She turned to her husband and said the words she couldn’t say earlier.
“Samuel, how could you? After all these years, the sacrifices I made, and the loyalty I showed, this is how you repay me?”
Samuel stammered, desperately trying to find the right words to explain himself. “Lashonda, I… I don’t know what to say. It was a mistake. I never meant to hurt you. But you work too much.”
Lashonda’s eyes filled with tears as she listened to his feeble excuses. She had given everything for their family, sacrificing her dreams and enduring hardships, only to be betrayed.
In that moment of pain and betrayal, Lashonda’s hands balled into fists. She was ready to fight Candesha and Samuel. With a sudden burst of anger, she threw Samuel’s own shoes at him.
“Is this what my loyalty and dedication earned me, Samuel?” she exclaimed, her voice trembling with emotion. “I deserve better than this. I deserve respect and faithfulness.”
“And you, I thought we were friends? How could you take a husband and father away from his family?” LaShonda couldn’t believe that Candesha, her friend of nine years, would do this to her.
She had just about reached the end of her tether. Not only was she working her fingers to the bone for long hours, but her husband and friend were disrespecting her all this time.
Candesha, the other woman in the room, stepped forward, her voice filled with remorse. “Lashonda, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know y’all were still together. He lied to me too. I had no idea.”
Lashonda’s anger shifted momentarily as she looked at Candesha. She was also lying to her now. How could she not know that they were still married? At this point, Lashonda’s blood was boiling.
So Much Hatred
Lashonda felt she wanted to do something. Something that she would surely regret. She had so much hatred and anger for her husband Samuel and her friend Candesha for their betrayal.
She already had so much going on in her life. Why did she have to deal with this as well? When would she get her break in life?
A Dark Future
What followed was a nasty divorce and child custody battle. But even through these trying times, moments where Lashonda could have taken the day or week off to gather herself, she didn’t miss a day of work.
She couldn’t afford that. She needed to make sure everyone had a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. But everyone needs a break sometimes.
She even showed up after her court hearings, wearing the same bright smile she had been wearing since her first day at the job.
If only her coworkers knew what was truly happening behind the scenes. If only she knew how difficult it was for her to maintain that smile. But nobody saw what was going on inside her.
Rebuilding Her Life
Lashonda knew that her life would never be the same again. She had to rebuild not only her own identity but also the lives of her children, who were caught in the crossfire of their parent’s failed marriage.
But that wasn’t the only thing that was lingering at the back of her mind. She would be retiring soon, and that would be where the problems truly began.
She moved forward with determination, finding strength in her years of hard work and perseverance. Lashonda knew that she had a bright future ahead, and she would not let this setback define her.
She had done it once, and she would do it again. But at what cost? How would this affect her in the long run?
Never Missed A Day
Lashonda was hurting. But she wouldn’t let that come between her and her job. She’d promised her boss to always clock in and aimed to keep that promise.
Even though there were days when she didn’t want to get up, she did. She pushed through, hoping it would be worth it in the end. But she would soon learn that it wasn’t worth it.
Not One Day
She never missed a day of work in the forty-seven years she worked at the restaurant. By now, she’d worked as a cook, a cleaner and even managed the place on rare occasions.
She was sure the restaurant would grandly honor her. That was until she saw what they had in the bag for her.
Here To Say Goodbye
The day had started normally for Lashonda, who, after taking her grandkids to school, drove to town to see what her last day at KFC would bring.
She was excited, but at the same time, she was nervous. This would be the end of one heck of a journey. And she wasn’t really sure she was ready for that.
A Sad End
She was in her sixties now. Her hair had turned gray from all the years she’d spent working and taking care of everyone around her.
She still had a lot of things to do and hoped she’d receive a good enough retirement package to help her take care of her problems. She’d be left speechless soon enough.
More Than A Restaurant
Lashonda stepped into the KFC, where all her coworkers eagerly awaited her. She was the oldest employee here and had taught everyone everything they knew.
For her, that shop had become a home, and it wasn’t just because she had spent the majority of her life in it. There was so much more to it than that.
Come And Go
She’d seen generations pass through the restaurant, watched kids grow into adults, and have their own kids who later grew into adults.
To her, this was more than just a place to grab a quick meal. It was more than serving customers and cooking up meals. It was her history. The place that made her the woman she was that day.
It was her home away from home, her constant in this turbulent ride we call life. She’d always come here when things weren’t going her way, finding calm in her work routine.
But now she needed to turn in her apron and uniform. After forty-seven years of service, it was time to retire. She greeted everyone with stemmed tears before proceeding to her manager’s office.
The manager, Mr. Jefreys, had only been here for three years, but even he deeply respected Lashonda. Yet, he couldn’t bring himself to look her in her eyes when she stepped into his office.
That was when Lashonda knew that things weren’t going to be as pleasant as she hoped they would be. What was he ashamed of?
Facing The Music
He shook her hand and asked her to take a seat. Fidgeting with his fingers, he thanked Lashonda for all she’d done, saying it had been an honor to meet and work with her.
Yet, Lashonda couldn’t help but feel like something was terribly wrong. Mr. Jefreys was acting very suspiciously, almost like he was uncomfortable. What was going on there?
The Goodie Bag
Mr. Jefreys pulled open his desk drawer and fished out a goodie bag – the same kind the restaurant usually packed gifts for customers in.
He cleared his throat and pulled at his dress shirt’s collar as if he was burning up. A trim line of sweat drew down his forehead. “Off the record,” he began. “I really did everything I could, Lashonda.”
Inside The Bag
Lashonda received the bag, her brows knitting together. She opened it and almost fell back at what she saw.
The bag contained two movie tickets, a KFC mug, chocolates, and candies. Lashonda moved the candy around, thinking there had to be more. Surely the restaurant hid some check or something along those lines here.
But there was nothing. After forty-seven years of hard work and dedication, with sacrifice after sacrifice, this was how the restaurant was repaying her.
Her eyes stung with tears, and she felt a sickness grow in her stomach. Her manager started talking, saying he tried to help her, but she couldn’t hear him. A loud buzzing had taken her ears. She stood up, wiped her eyes, and straightened her clothes. She was going to make each of them pay.
A Storm Brewing
Lashonda stormed out of the manager’s office. The goodie bag was still clutched tightly in her hand. Her emotions boiled inside her, a mixture of anger, disappointment, and betrayal.
How could they treat her like this after almost five decades of loyalty and hard work? How could they thank her by giving her something so meaningless?
As she walked through the restaurant, her fellow coworkers sensed the tension radiating from her. They stopped their activities and exchanged concerned glances.
Lashonda had always been the pillar of strength and resilience, but now she appeared shattered. They couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to upset her so much. But they would learn the truth soon enough.
Unleashing the Fury
Lashonda made her way to the center of the restaurant, her voice ringing out with a force that silenced everyone.
“Is this how they repay me? Forty-seven years of dedication, and they give me a bag of trinkets?” Her words reverberated through the room, capturing the attention of every employee and customer present. She was not going to let them do this to her.
The shock and disbelief on their faces fueled Lashonda’s determination. She continued, her voice steady but filled with pent-up rage. “I’ve given my blood, sweat, and tears to this place. I’ve never missed a day, and this is what I get in return. Well, let me tell you, this isn’t over!”
Then she marched out, tears streaming down her face.
A United Front
Her outburst sparked a fire in the hearts of her coworkers. They had all benefited from Lashonda’s wisdom and kindness over the years, and they couldn’t stand idly by while she was treated so unfairly. One by one, they rallied behind her, voicing their support and vowing to take action.
Even if they had to down tools and take strike action, they were not going to leave her in the lurch.
The atmosphere in the restaurant shifted from shock to solidarity. The employees formed a united front, refusing to serve customers until Lashonda received the recognition and compensation she deserved.
It wasn’t what she expected. But it was nice to know that there was still someone out there who had her back. Someone that cared about what happened to her.
They Were There
They didn’t care if they lost a day or even a month’s worth of pay. They didn’t even care if the uproar would cost them their jobs.
Lashonda meant a lot to all of them, and they wanted to show their undying support for her. They wanted her to get what she deserved, and that wasn’t in the goodie bag.
The Power of Social Media
Word of the restaurant’s mistreatment of Lashonda spread like wildfire. Customers took to social media, sharing stories of Lashonda’s unwavering dedication and the injustice she faced.
The hashtag #JusticeForLashonda trended, attracting attention from local news outlets and putting pressure on the restaurant’s management. But would that help? Would they do anything other than give a public apology?
The public outcry grew louder by the hour, and the restaurant’s reputation was rapidly tarnished. It became clear that they had severely underestimated the impact of their actions.
They would need to do more than just apologize if they wanted this to go away. They needed to ensure that the public knew Lashonda got what she deserved.
A Bittersweet Victory
Finally, Lashonda received the acknowledgment she had been fighting for. The CEO personally visited the restaurant, offering a heartfelt apology to her in front of her coworkers, customers, and the media.
He presented her with a plaque of appreciation and a generous retirement package and publicly pledged to change the company’s policies regarding long-serving employees.
While Lashonda appreciated the belated recognition, the victory was bittersweet. She couldn’t forget the pain and disappointment she had endured.
However, her fight sparked a larger movement for justice and fairness in the workplace, inspiring others to stand up against similar mistreatment. And in her mind, that was better than seeing them suffer because they were too afraid to fight back.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.