After 32 Years, Woman With Down Syndrome Retires From McDonald's: 'She Liked Making French Fries'

Freia David, 52, was a popular employee, known for her kindness and smiles.

For 32 years, Freia David has been a beloved fixture at the McDonald’s in Needham, Massachusetts.

If you needed a hug, Freia was there. If she saw you pull up in the parking lot, she’d come hold the door open for you.

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And if you wanted to know the best way to make French fries, she could most definitely show you.

On Monday, the 52-year-old woman with Down syndrome flipped her last basket of fries, and was showered with love and tributes from hundreds who’d been blessed by her gentle smile and her generosity of spirit over the last three decades.

“It was really special. There were people who knew Freia from way back when. She was just beaming all day long,” Christopher Sheehan, who grew up next door to Freia and has known her since he was 4, told on Monday.

People brought cards, stuffed animals, and flowers. Local TV crews showed up. Roommates from her group home arrived, as did middle-aged residents who fried burgers alongside Freia as teenagers.

“So many people love her. She was getting pulled in every direction,” Sheehan, 47, said. “She couldn’t even eat her own lunch.”

For 12 years, Freia has been living in a group home sponsored by the Charles River Center, a nonprofit human services agency.

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She worked three hours a day, five days a week. “She liked making money, that’s for sure,” residential director Amy Coran told “And she liked making French fries.”

But the time came for Freia to retire.

Sheehan said Down syndrome can sometimes result in early onset dementia and that Freia "was getting there," he said. 

"She will go to a day care program," filled with activities and volunteer opportunities, Coran said. “She’ll just be enjoying her retirement.”

“She grew up here. She just has one of those personalities,” Coran said, asked to describe the loving woman with a child’s understanding. “She’s quiet, but she’s really, really friendly and people just gravitate toward her.”

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