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    The Portrait

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    If you’ve been to the Brownsboro Road McDonald’s across from the Holiday Manor Shopping Center at all since 1989, you’ve probably met Tammy Clasby. And she probably remembers you. I used to get the occasional Happy Meal there in the early ’90s, and she remembered me when I saw her on Nov. 30.

    That morning, the 46-year-old sauntered into work for the zillionth time (really, probably close to 8,000th), expecting to hold a meeting with the staff. She was instead greeted by a TV crew ready to capture her milestone: working 30 years at McDonald’s. (It’s an impressive tenure, though not quite record-breaking: Last year, a 94-year-old woman in Evansville, Indiana, made the news for working at the fast-food chain for 44 years.) As Clasby entered the building, a handful of family and friends clapped, cheered and wiped away tears. Clasby grew flushed, perhaps a little embarrassed, but was mostly grateful. She calls McDonald’s her family.

    She got the job as a 16-year-old looking to make some money. College was on the horizon, she thought, but she grew to love serving people and seeing the regulars. Now she’s a manager. “I was always that sorta quiet person. It brought me out of my shell,” Clasby says. In the ’90s, Clasby, with a radiant grin, would hand me my cheeseburger and fries through the drive-thru window — her favorite spot because there’s more interaction with people there than in the kitchen. When I told her that I used to come as a kid, Clasby remembered my mom’s Subaru.

    “We don’t go anywhere that she doesn’t know somebody,” says Clasby’s mom, Helen. “Some of them are: ‘Where do I know you from?’ and she always just says, ‘McDonald’s, Brownsboro Road.’” Clasby says she hasn’t gotten tired of eating the food. She will usually get an Egg McMuffin and hash browns.

    Stephanie Young, who, with her siblings, owned the store during the first 27 of Clabsy’s 30 years, says, “If you needed her to work a shift that she normally didn’t work because you were shorthanded, you’d call her and she’d come in. If you needed her to stay late, she’d stay late.” Clasby used to babysit Young’s kids and says the hardest moment for her was when Young handed over the franchise. Clasby considered leaving, but she decided to stick it out. After three decades, sometimes she’ll accidentally answer her own phone, “McDonald’s, Brownsboro Road.”

    This originally appeared in the January 2019 issue of Louisville Magazine as the Portrait. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Photo by Jessica Ebelhar,

    Mary Chellis Nelson's picture

    About Mary Chellis Nelson

    Mary Chellis Nelson is the managing editor of Louisville Magazine.

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