Derek Williams radiates pure unfiltered joy. Before he even knew my name he was grinning, excited for whatever conversation was about to take place. An employee of Strack & Van Til for nearly five years, it’s no wonder why he stands out to his customers or why he was suggested to be interviewed for this blog. I had no idea what to expect, but walked out with a fresh perspective and peace, as anyone who interacts with Derek surely does as well.

LOCAL 219: Was it circumstances, hobbies or your childhood that led you to this position?

DEREK WILLIAMS: So I shopped here a lot. I liked to get the fried chicken. I work at McDonald’s too. I asked one of the managers if they were hiring over here. I thought they weren’t going to call but they called me out of the blue for the interview.

L219: It sounds like it all worked out.

DW: Yeah. Plus I have friends here, like some come in from school, some of them I know from shopping.

L219: What is your position here?

DW: A clerk and bagger. I help with taking peoples’ groceries out. I help with the customers.

L219: From what I’ve heard and seen, in a short period of time, you’re amazing with your customers. My next question is, what gets you out of bed in the morning? What gets you excited for the day?

DW: Well, I like to sleep a lot because I work two jobs. I know I’m going to be here all day, but I get to be with my co-workers, play games with them. That helps me during the day.

L219: Who has had the greatest influence in your life?

DW: Oh that’s my mom. My mom recently passed away last month.

L219: I’m so sorry to hear that.

DW: Oh yeah, thank you. It’s still kind of rough.

L219: What did she teach you?

DW: She was always nice, like that kind of thing. A very nice person. Kind of, you know, easy-going.

L219: It definitely seems like you’ve picked up some of her traits. I can tell by how happy you are how much she has influenced you.

DW: Yeah, I would tell her all my stories from work, even when she was on vacation. Then she would let me know when she was ready to pick me up. I’m gonna miss all of that.

L219: But you know she’s watching down on you and that she still loves you so much.

DW: Yeah. I’m gonna miss her but I know she’s watching. I know, and I have the memories to look back on.

L219:  Exactly. Focus on those and all the good times you guys had together. What has been one of the greatest lessons you’ve learned while working here?

DW: Good customer service, about being nice to people.

L219: That’s great; customer service is key. What do you enjoy most about working here?


I enjoy the different customers and my co-workers. I have the best co-workers. They’re kind of like my family.

We’re connected at McDonald’s too. They’re like my family. Some people they dread coming to work, they can’t wait for the day to be over, but I always have a good time. Sometimes I have a good time too much. They get kind of frustrated, but I guess that’s okay.

L219: It’s important to have a good time though! Better than coming into work all grumpy or angry, because people pick up on that. Your customers can tell when you don’t want to be here, or when you’re happy to be here.

DW: I guess, but I know I have too much fun sometimes too.

L219: Well, I’m letting you know that the people you work with, and for, appreciate you. That’s why I’m interviewing you today.

DW: That’s so nice of them.

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