The name Marlene Drysdale may not ring a bell, but the smiling face pouring you a coffee will if you’ve ever hit Tim Hortons in the north end of Barrie in the morning.
Drysdale (her husband is related to the famous tree people) works at the Tim Hortons kiosk in the Esso station at Bayfield Street and Cundles Road in Barrie’s north end and knows pretty much every customer by name.
Having moved to Barrie in 1979, Drysdale tried different jobs out before ending up in one she fell in love with.
“When I first moved up here, I worked with emotionally disturbed kids through Browndale and Kinark,” she told BarrieToday. “From there, I went to the restaurant business, which was the Merriman and Friends restaurant and when that closed, I was off to Bellamy’s, which also closed and then to Brennan's Meats before coming here on Dec. 28, 1998.
"I’ve been here ever since and enjoyed every minute.”
Recently, Drysdale and fellow employees found out that new management was taking over and everyone was being let go on Tuesday, Dec. 4. While she did not want to worry too much about the unfortunate news, Drysdale chooses rather to focus on the good that comes from the job she says she will miss.
“I just love what I do and I know a lot of my customers and their kids, their birthdays, when they’ve had babies and such,” said Drysdale. “When they’ve had babies, I’ve given gifts or wedding gifts on that special day and I have given Christmas cards to customers since 2005 or 2006.
"I love talking to people, seeing how they are as they get that morning cup of coffee, its just really nice and something that isn’t done enough anymore.”
Drysdale isn’t sure what she’ll do after her last day next Tuesday morning, but says her husband is semi-retired and they’ll figure it all out when the time is right.
The birthday lady, having turned 58 on Wednesday, said that she is ruling out going to another Tim Hortons.
“I liked this one and am not big on what they’re doing at the others,” said Drysdale. “We don’t have the drive-thru here and it’s just coffee and a treat basically. This is what Timmies is, not all the poutine and such, I feel they’re going too far.
"This one-on-one and giving that much-needed coffee is what it's all about, to me at least," she added. "I will miss my customers, for sure, but it is what it is.”
The customers feel the same way and Thomas Pasco is one of Drysdale’s regulars who will hate to see her go. Pasco hasn’t seen the likes of Drysdale at big chain stores and restaurants and reached out to BarrieToday because he felt like she at least deserved to be recognized for how good she makes people feel.
“I go in there whenever I can and there’s always a big line-up, even though folks could just go up or down the street for drive-thru,” said Pasco, adding Drysdale will be missed. “She is the backbone of that place and whether she feels it or not, she is very loved and known in this part of Barrie."