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"I like working hard" - Derek's employment story

Derek Lith lives in Vancouver, B.C., where he was born and raised. His one-bedroom suite is comfortable and tidy, with pictures and mementos of his family placed throughout. Family is important to Derek and he talks to his parents every day.

Typically, every other weekend, he takes the bus and ferry to visit them on the Sunshine Coast.
Apart from his family, the most important thing in Derek’s life is his job. Derek has worked for MacDonald’s as a lobby person for almost 21 years. “I like working hard,” he says. “And I like getting pay cheques.”

Derek is saving his money to travel, go to movies, and buy CD’s and DVD’s of his favorite music and movies such as Star Trek and the Three Stooges. He recently flew alone for the first time when he travelled to Amsterdam to visit extended family. He has been to Mexico , Las Vegas , Malaysia, Germany, Holland and New Zealand and is now saving up for a trip to go back to New Zealand in January 2013.

Derek first started working at MacDonald’s part-time during high school. While Derek received some support finding the job, he learned most of his skills from supportive employers and co-workers and from practicing at home.

He now works three days a week, four hours a day and has worked at the current MacDonald’s location for over four years.

As a lobby person, Derek cleans tables and counters, stacks trays and napkins, takes out the garbage and re-stocks the straws, ketchup and cups. He knows his job well and steadily moves from one task to another without stopping.

“You have to take your time,” he says. “Clean it so it’s sparkly clean and don’t stack the napkins too high.”

Derek is social and has a good relationship with many of the regular customers. They know him by name and occasionally give him tips. “I say hi to everybody,” he says with a smile. “The customers are very nice.”

Customers frequently compliment Derek on how hard he works and how well he does his job. He goes above and beyond what is expected of him and once helped a customer find their cell phone. “We phoned the number and I followed the ring,” Derek says proudly.

Over the past 20 years Derek has seen many changes. Different MacDonald’s locations have renovated, changed ownership or closed and Derek himself has changed living situations and moved to different areas of Vancouver. Throughout it all, he has remained a dedicated and loyal employee; however far he has lived from work, getting there on time has always been a priority. When transit workers went on strike in 2001, Derek walked for two hours to get to work on time. He worked his four hour shift and luckily received a ride home from a helpful co-worker.

Just as Derek values his job, his employer values Derek’s contribution to the workplace. Last December he was awarded a gold plated watch at the staff Christmas banquet and five years ago he was awarded a bag of golf clubs.

“They’re happy I’m a hard worker,” says Derek.  “I’m doing a good job.”