Patti Wollerton, General Manager Denny's, Yucaipa, CA
If youre fortunate enough to enter Dennys Restaurant on Yucaipa Boulevard when the general manager is on duty, youll be greeted with a warm smile and welcomed like a special guest.
Patti Wollerton regards her customers as friends, and she knows many by name. As general manager, she shoulders the responsibility for the operation of the restaurant, and she's required to spend time at her desk. But shes happiest out among the people, meeting, greeting, walking the restaurant, checking with customers at the tables and booths, making sure they have what they need.
She attributes her love of people to her Christian faith, and learned customer service skills when she began as a server at the Dennys in Colton thirty-six years ago. After about a year, she began her rise in the organization, and since then, shes trained managers in several Southern California locations, including Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs, Banning, and Beaumont.
Her hours are long, sometimes eleven hours at a time, and when she has a couple of days off, she and her husband relax at their home on the Colorado River. Between her nine grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and her porcelain dolls, she has little free time, but she spends part of that free time in class at the Yucaipa Adult School. For her high school diploma, she said. Shed dropped out years ago to raise a family. When I asked why, as a general manager, shes determined to get her diploma now, she said it was for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She wants to show them that its never too late to correct past mistakes.
As I listened to her talk about her family, her joy in life, and her determination to do the right thing, I felt her family was fortunate to have such a role model. Sometimes our best models arent famous sports or entertainment stars, but are our friends and neighbors in our own community, striving each day to set the right example for their children.
Next time you're hungry, stop by and say hello. She'll be happy to see you.
Denny's 33540 Yucaipa Blvd Yucaipa, CA 92399 (909) 790-0790