Phumeza Qhwesha (part-time crew member)
McDonald’s fosters a close-knit community amongst its staff and this is something Phumeza Qhwesha from Alexandra, Johannesburg values as an employee.
The 27 year old, who is physically challenged, is trained in skills that have allowed her to be an invaluable employee at McDonald’s Woodmead restaurant for the past three years.
She enjoys being a part-time crew member and would like to work her way to the training division at the head office where she can train the crew on how to interact with people with physical challenges.
“People need to be educated on how to interact with people who have challenges because it can be hurtful and frustrating when people don’t understand your situation and push you aside,” she shares.
She has found a second home at McDonald’s where there is no discrimination and everyone is equal. “At McDonald’s I am treated the same as everyone and with respect. The people here are supportive, encouraging and accepting. I have also found a second mom in my manager,” she says.
Phumi as she is affectionately known amongst her colleagues, identifies poverty and the lack of education as the biggest challenges in her community in Alexandra. She considers herself fortunate to be able to get up every morning and put on her McDonald’s uniform to work alongside her ‘family members’.
Her work challenges only depend on how busy the restaurant gets as the pace is fast-moving and she finds herself running around to try her best to keep customers from becoming frustrated and annoyed. Although this is her most challenging time, Phumi is happy to do the best she can.
Her McDonald’s team have taught her not to look down on herself. “They believed in me from the beginning and taught me to stand up and make the most of my life. I’ve come to realise that with a positive mind-set, anything is a possibility,” she says.
She encourages people with the same challenges as her to believe in themselves and accept and love who they are. “We are all disabled in some way, it is just that mine shows. I challenge others to be patient and kind with those that are different to them. Don’t push people beyond their capabilities, let them do things in their own time,” she says.
When things are not busy and she takes a lunch break, Phumi enjoys her favourite McDonald’s meal – Grilled Chicken Foldover with no tomato and extra ketchup and tea.
For more inspiring stories please visit: http://www.mcdonalds.co.za/istories