Missouri McDonald’s owner, 90, claims working, fast food is secret to longevity

KANSAS CITY, MO – A Kansas City man doesn’t let age get in the way of showing up to work every day.

John Jelinek, who turned 90 on Monday, claims punching-the-clock for his fountain of youth.

He marked his major milestone by spending the day the same way he spends every other, working at the McDonald’s restaurant he has owned for more than a third of his life.

“I enjoy being here every day,” Jelinek said.

A whole lot has changed since Jelinek bought the McDonald’s at West 38th Street and Broadway Boulevard back in 1982. There’s now a drive-through, and the menu options have grown immensely. However, one thing hasn’t changed: John’s effort to make the restaurant the friendliest McDonald’s in the metro.

“Every day they see him here Monday through Friday,” shift manager Rosalinda Santiago said.

Jelinek considers his restaurant his fountain of youth. And yes, he eats McDonald’s every day.

“I have a salad every day, apple slices, chocolate milk,” he said.

And, on occasion, he splurges on his favorite, a Quarter Pounder with cheese.

Guests will often find Jelinek sitting in the lobby greeting customers for the lunch hour. He says it gives him purpose.

“If I do all these things I do, that’s freedom … liking what I do is happiness,” he said.

And that happiness is infectious. Even former employees came to celebrate his birthday with him. Happy birthday, John.

By Chris Oberholtz & Carolyn Long, KCTV