You’ll find a wide range of ages at this Japanese branch of the Golden Arches. 

McDonald’s has roughly 2,900 branches throughout Japan, and thousands of employees flipping burgers and delivering smiles for fast food lovers around the nation.

Out of all the workers on the books, however, there’s one who stands out as a shining beacon of inspiration for people everywhere. His name is Yoshimitsu Yabuta, and he can be found working at the Takaoka Ekinan branch in Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture.

What makes Yabuta so special is the fact that he’s the oldest McDonald’s worker in Japan. So how old is he? Well, he’s 93 years old.

Yabuta recently came to everyone’s attention when McDonald’s set up a special site acknowledging some of their most notable locations for the chain’s 50th anniversary in Japan. In amongst mentions for the store with the highest altitude — Karuizawa in Nagano, at 912 metres (2,992 feet) — and the branch with the most beautiful ocean view — Miura Kaigan in Kanagawa — was a hat-tip to the store with the oldest crew member, which thrust Yabuta into the spotlight overnight.

▼ The McDonald’s branch where Yabuta works is also the store with the widest age range of employees in Japan.

Yabuta started working as a part-time employee at the store in 2019, when he was 90 years old. He says he applied for the job when he happened to see an ad for part-time work at the store, as he wanted to do something to make use of his spare time.

The job attracted him as this branch of McDonald’s is open 24 hours a day, meaning he could work night shifts, which he was used to, given his previous experience as a late-night staff member at an arcade, a job he took up after retiring as an electrician.

Yabuta now works five-hour shifts four nights a week, and while he was in charge of cleaning tables at first, he’s now also responsible for making side-menu meals like salads. Even when he’s not working, he often comes in during the day to buy drinks and fries, and enjoys chatting to other “silver generation” crew members when they have their breaks.

▼ Yabuta’s story made news in Japan.

The 36-year-old manager of the branch, Kyohei Imoto, publicly praised Yabuta for his work, saying he helps to maintain a high level of cleanliness at the store, and ensures that preparations for the morning shift run smoothly.

Yabuta is said to be an inspiration to his fellow colleagues, the youngest of whom is just 15, with one co-worker saying he now feels people can take on any challenge at any age.

The spritely 93-year-old says he likes working, and his secret to good health is “hydration and physical activity”. He says he wants to continue working while his body is still able, and McDonald’s customers around the country, whose hearts have been warmed by his story, also hope he can continue working for many more years to come.

Perhaps next time the company sits down to create their next heartwarming ad for the chain starring a senior citizen, Yabuta will be able to make an appearance…without any digital effects to make him look younger than usual.

Source: McDonald’s Japan via Hachima Kikou
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