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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Kellery’s Hamburgers in Lakewood is an institution.
For many patrons, a visit to the restaurant would not be the same without Shirley Ehney. She has been serving it up longer than most of her coworkers have been alive.
It’s her attitude though that makes her one of our “Texans With Character.”
“Yeah! I’m a little more sore than I used to be but don’t tell anybody that,” said Ehney.
At 23 years old, Ehney started working at Keller’s when it opened.
“There’s nothing in here that’s still here?” Ehney asked one of her coworkers. “Nothing in the building, except me.”
While the cars that pull into Keller’s certainly look a lot different and the prices on the menu have definitely changed, Ehney has not.
“She’s kind of a staple of this place. Anytime you come around here, you’re going to see her,” said Robert Mendoza, a been a customer for more than 30 years.
Employees like Lillian Anderson have only been at Keller’s for a little more than a year. She cannot imagine spending five decades at the same job.
“She’s inspiring to me. It’s good to see a good example of a woman,” said Anderson.
After going through a divorce years ago, Ehney continued working to support her four kids. Eventually she remarried.
“Then he passed away. So I just kept working,” said Ehney. “It doesn’t really bother me.”
Her heartache would continue. In 2006, her daughter Kim was diagnosed with terminal cervical cancer. She passed away two years later.
“You got to be tough to get through this life and I’ve bounced back,” said Ehney.
For Ehney, it is about the people.
“Right now I live by myself so I think it would be hard for me to be by myself,” said Ehney.
Those she loves, those she mentors and those she serves have kept her going all these years.
“I think how you spend your life is what matters. What you do in life, maybe to help someone else. Even if it’s nothing of a big deal you know? Help someone out you know? It ain’t all about you,” said Ehney.
In a world that is moving faster than ever, Shirley is that constant. The familiar face in a crowd of change.
Ehney said she plans to retire in a year or so but jokes, she “might just die out there,” at Keller’s Hamburgers.
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