Katherine Aleck loves her job and it shows.
“Oh, she’s amazing. Makes the best rings, the best onion rings ever,” said Aleck’s co-worker at Ladysmith A&W, Muriel Jack.
According to Jack, customers stop into their specific A&W, just for Aleck’s onion rings because she takes so much pride in every batch.
“They are the best made here,” said customer Joyce Campbell, who visits daily.
“I put a lot of time and energy into my rings that’s what I do,” said Katherine Aleck.
Now, the hard-working Great Grandma, who has spent 12 years at this Ladysmith A&W, serving up customers that she knows by name, is being rewarded. In a way that other minimum wage earning, fast food workers could only dream of.
“I think it’s darn great,” said long-time A&W customer Howard Campbell.
Aleck’s receiving an all-expense paid seven-day trip to Mexico, for her loyalty and years of service.
“I’ve never been on an exciting trip like this. I’m so excited I can’t even tell you,” she said.
She’s not the first to receive a trip from this small family-run restaurant.
Muriel Jack was the first worker to receive an all-expense paid trip for her 10 years there and went just before the pandemic.
“Seeing her excited makes me very happy for her,” said Jack.
Aleck’s son-in-law Kelly Frenchy is also receiving a trip to Mexico for his 10 years working at the A&W, so the family is going together in November, Kathy’s daughter and their son included.
“It means a lot, it’s our first time going out of the country. It’s amazing. I still can’t believe it’s happening,” said Kelly Frenchy.
The program was designed to reward longtime employees who may never be able to enjoy a vacation like this on their own, but Ladysmith A&W Manager Alicia Golling said what it has also done is retain workers at a remarkable rate in this labour shortage.
“We did this before COVID-19. Not knowing the impact this might have, and I feel this has put us in a better situation with staffing,” said Golling.
Which leads Aleck to a win-win conclusion.
“It would be so amazing if all the other bosses can do this for all their hardworking employees. You know give them that gift that they’ve never had,” said Aleck.
A once-in-a-lifetime trip, that Katherine Aleck is grateful she’s been gifted. As this small family-run Ladysmith restaurant goes the extra mile, for workers who are doing the same.