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Dedicated commuter and 26-year employee celebrates retirement from McDonald's with festivites

PMG PHOTO: AVA EUCKER - Deon Robertson smiles by a cake commemorating his diligent and loving work ethic. Smiling and conversing with customers and coworkers: These are what Deon Robertson said have been the highlights of his experience working at the McDonald's on Boones Ferry Road for the past 26 years. Robertson lives in the Parkrose area near the Portland airport and has bused and biked for a combined daily four-hour commute Monday through Friday for his job. A vocational rehabilitation center partnering with David Douglass High School connected him with this job in Lake Oswego.

PMG PHOTO: AVA EUCKER - From left, Sandy Seebers, Connie Connor, Deon Robertson and fellow community member celebrate Robertsons final week at McDonalds.In lieu of his retirement and with the intention of honoring Robertson, McDonald's management and staff threw him a party and invited customers through flyers attached to serving trays.

Several community members came to his retirement gathering Thursday, June 13 with gifts or words of gratitude, while others were moved to deliver cards before his final shift June 14.

"Over the years I've come to know Deon without even knowing his name," Lake Oswego resident Connie Connor said. "I know he is a man of integrity and that is why I am here to celebrate with him."

PMG PHOTO: AVA EUCKER - Store Manager Shelly Nelson ordered a cake for customers and staff to enjoy while honoring Robertson.Sandy Seebers, shift manager, said Robertson has brought joy to customers and his absence when not working evokes questions from weekend goers or returning out of town visitors.

"Deon is always willing to help, to pitch in," Seebers said. "He is so kind to little old ladies and children. Just so kind, and a hard worker."

Robertson's commute wasn't his only challenge while working in Lake Oswego. Robertson is black, and working in a predominantly white affluent community has called for him to see color as an attribute of vibrancy and personality rather than skin tone.

PMG PHOTO: AVA EUCKER - Robertson and his daughter Esther smile as she shares a gift with him.Robertson's mother Rosia Braxton said she often worried about her son working in Lake Oswego and that he sometimes complained of degrading interactions, but that for many years he had an overall positive experience. Braxton said she taught her son not to worry about color.

Along with overcoming distance and racial dynamics, Robertson has also had to embrace difficulties with speech and mobility since being hit by a car when he was a child. While Robertson was in a coma for 89 days, Braxton said she quit her job to be with her adopted son in the hospital every day. Braxton said doctors suggested pulling the plug and she refused as she felt God had another purpose for her boy.

Deon Robertson served Lake Oswego with a wide smile and a kind aura for over a quarter of a century. He has left an impact on this community. McDonald's employees and Big Mac enthusiasts alike said they wish him the best as he transitions to a new chapter of his life. PMG PHOTO: AVA EUCKER - Colorful streamers add to the ambience of celebration.


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