Thirty-six is a long time to be anywhere, especially a job. For well over half of Trailways’ 50 years in Montevideo, Linda Bendickson has been a familiar, friendly face at the business, and July marks year 36.
She started when Jack Bittner was the owner, hired by John Larson, the manager at the time. She stayed on when Jim Curtiss took over about 10 years ago, and stayed on in 2010, when Brian and Karen Fixsen leased the business, saving it from being closed down.
“We were going to shut down, and these guys (the Fixsens) came in, and within a week we were back up and running,”?Bendickson said. “People were asking me what I was going to do — I was very relieved.”
The gratitude goes both ways.
“She’s a very dedicated employee,” Brian Fixsen said. “She has put in a lot of time here and that shows a lot.”
It shows, most clearly, through Bendickson’s personality and attitude toward her job. When asked what she likes most about the job, or why she continues to stay on after so many years, she has one simple answer every time, “the customers.”
A lot has changed over the years, but a lot has also stayed the same. Even though the menu has been updated, Bendickson knows what customers like what they have always liked, and when she sees them walk in the door she can call in the order immediately.
Changes to the menu have kept Bendickson on her toes, though, but she only sees it as a positive thing.
“They (the Fixsens) are never afraid to try something new. Things are never the same — people like that,”?Bendickson said. “A lot of things have changed, there are more decorative things up, and still great quality food. That keeps me happy, I?like to serve good quality.”
Trailways is both a truck stop, and a family diner. The variety of customers gives Bendickson a number of different people to talk to, which she loves.
As the restaurant continues to evolve and try new things, Bendickson is optimistic about the future.
“As long as we’re open, I’ll be here,”?she said.
Thursday afternoon, Aug. 2, Trailways will be serving free cake and coffee to honor Bendickson’s 36 years at the business, and show appreciation for her dedication to the customers.