Why The Internet Is Calling One McDonald's Franchise Owner A Hero

There are a lot of jokes that get flung around about "teens flipping burgers at McDonald's," but there are so many things McDonald's employees wish you knew about what it's really like to work at the chain. And while there are some things likely to raise eyebrows, like the weird rules that McDonald's workers have to follow, it's not all bad. Since 93% of all McDonald's locations are franchises (per McDonald's), some exceptional people have the opportunity to shine in the way they run their location and treat their employees. 

One such person is Tony Philiou, a Korean War veteran, Greek immigrant, and McDonald's franchise owner in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, who took it upon himself to create a business model that you don't see every day (via Washington Post). When his location had to stop operations for three months to be renovated, Philiou decided to keep paying all of his employees throughout the duration of the closure, even though his business wouldn't be making any money in the meantime. "There was nobody in the world who could change my mind on what I thought was the right thing to do," Philiou said. "We depleted the account a little bit, but they helped make the account," he said of his employees. People online had a lot of opinions about Philiou's decision.

Some people thought his gesture should be standard

From the employees interviewed for the Washington Post article to people on Twitter and Reddit, lots of folks had good things to say about McDonald's franchise owner Tony Philiou. "Tony is a good, good man," said one Twitter user, while another called him a "true American." "Now there is an employer who cares about his employees and their loyalty," said one Facebook user. And indeed, Philiou's McDonald's location has several employees who have worked there loyally for decades. Philiou, now 90, first started working at the location when he was 30. The general manager has been working at the location for 40 years, and another employee, Mary Conti, has been working there since 1977 — she's now 78. 

While pretty much everyone seemed to agree that Philiou was doing the right thing by paying his employees while the location had to close, some thought his gesture should be the norm. "How is this not mandatory?" asked one Reddit user. "This shouldn't be the exception. It should be the norm," said another (via Reddit). "It's a pretty simple concept that most companies don't follow," laid out a Facebook commenter. "If you take care of your employees, the employees will take care of you." Based on the stories, it seems like Philiou and his employees have been doing just that for decades now.