'We are a family': Addison McDonald's crew reunites after 4 decades apart

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After spending decades apart, one group of friends have finally been reunited.

"It's really cool. When I first heard they're going to do this, I was totally in," said Patty Andrews.

Their special bond began 43 years ago at the McDonald's on North Avenue in suburban Addison.

The last time Andrews -- who now works at the company's home office -- saw the group, she was an assistant manager and most of them were her crewmates.

The group all worked together between 1977 and 1980.

Paul Dowers, 69, was not only the restaurant's manager back then, but a father figure as well.

He's since retired and now lives in Florida.

"I was a very young man at the time and they were all teenagers," Dowers said. "I felt like they were my children."

Michele Jamuszik had the idea to get the old crew together after getting an announcement about her high school reunion.

She was pleased that almost everyone showed up.

"It's like a weekend of being 17 or. 18 again," Jamuszik said. "We went right back to those days. We are a family, lifelong friends."

There's no doubt the group has a special connection from their time together as they reminisced about their memories.

Among those memories was the budding romance of two of the crewmembers.

Tom Ciardiello met his wife Tina, of 35 years, while working the front counter.

"It grew out of this. The McDonald's family," he said. "Mcdonald's gave you a lot. It did."

The restaurant was Hung Vu's first job after immigrating to the United States, It's also where the now-corporate turnaround specialist based in Colorado, learned to speak English.

"That gave me the start that thawed things out," Vu said. "I didn't feel like I was on the outside anymore."

Sunday morning, after having breakfast, the crew plans to visit the old site where so many memories were made and take a photo before preparing for the next reunion.
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