Elderly Man Still Works at McDonald's To Care for Special Needs Grandkids After Wife Dies


Community members from Lexington, Kentucky, are rallying around an 85-year-old McDonald’s employee who has been serving the community for more than 40 years, working diligently at the same restaurant since the ’70s.

Wendall Gill is a fixture at the local McDonald’s, known as a hardworking, dedicated employee who took pride in keeping the restaurant sparkling clean.

In August, Gill’s wife of 68 years, Della Gill, passed away after suffering an aneurysm inside the very McDonald’s her husband has worked at for over 40 years.

Gill is now trying to care for the adult grandsons with special needs the couple adopted all on his own, while grieving the loss of his beloved wife.

“I’ve got my hands full trying to work and take care of them, too,” Gill told the Lexington Herald Leader. “If she had a choice, she would still be with us.”

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When an old friend and coworker of Gill realized the tragedy of what had happened, he reached out to his community on behalf of Gill to ask for help.

“Wendall Needs Us To Serve Him Now,” Michael Todd Oldfield titled the GoFundMe campaign he started to help relieve some of Gill’s financial burdens.

“I met Wendall in June, 1978 when I went to work for my first job; McDonald’s on Richmond Road, in Lexington, Kentucky,” Oldfield wrote.

The two worked together for a while until Oldfield moved on. But every time he stopped by the McDonald’s on Richmond Road, he looked for Gill, hoping to take a few moments to catch up with his old friend.

In September, Oldfield visited the McDonald’s and glimpsed Gill’s noticeably changed demeanor. Something was very wrong.

“He was sullen. He was empty. His eyes nearly tearing up,” Oldfield said.

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Gill explained how his wife passed away after suffering an aneurysm inside the women’s restroom. Gill explained how he’s struggling to keep up with his bills, his job and the care and well-being of his two adult grandsons.

“This is the hardest part of the story to me. Wendall has to keep working right there in the store, walking past this restroom, cleaning it daily,” Oldfield wrote. “This is what the man does. This memory of what happened in there will never leave him I fear.”

Gill’s grandsons are confused and saddened by the loss of Della, too. The older has autism, the younger suffers from Infant Alcohol Syndrome, and both are in adult daycare two days a week.

Gill said his older grandson still cries and says how much he misses his Granny.

“I say, ‘It’s ok to miss her, because you loved her,’” Gill said.

Oldfield is hoping to raise enough money to pay off one of Gill’s vehicles, relieving the pressure for a gentle old soul who is daily giving all he has to provide for his family. At the time of publication, the campaign had raised over $26,000 of its $28,000 goal.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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