CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Some people like to take trips or eat a special meal to celebrate their birthday. For 101-year-old Ruth Parker, a trip to her local Taco Bell will do just fine.
The Carbondale woman chose to celebrate her big day among her best amigos and tacos.
"We celebrate every birthday here," she said.
Parker started coming to Taco Bell on a rainy day shortly after moving to town. She needed a place to read her paper and drink her coffee.
"They said, 'Well we don't serve coffee here,' but one of the help brought his coffee and said 'We'll make you a cup,'" she said.
Parker's been coming back twice a week, like clockwork, for the last 18 years. Store manager Rebecca Gefro said every employee goes out of their way to be nice to "Miss Ruth."
"No matter what, we all know Miss Ruth and we all make her a part of our lives and, you know, we talk to her and we just love her to death," Gefro said.
Parker said the feeling is mutual.
"And Becky is a doll. She is a wonderful, wonderful person," she said.
In all her years frequenting the fast food joint, Parker is pretty sure she's had everything on the menu - but she does have a new favorite.
"Right now I'm hooked on their taco fries. They're delicious!" she said.
Though they'll probably see her again in a few days' time, Gefro and crew are already looking forward to Parker's next birthday fiesta.
"We'll see her at 102 next year, and we're gonna make it even bigger!" she said.
Parker plans to be there as well.
"I feel alright for being 101 I guess, haha," she said.
Illinois woman celebrates 'living más,' to 101, at Taco Bell