If you get a hankering for a sausage biscuit on Thursday and drop by the McDonald's at Continental Shopping Plaza, chances are you'll see the Krumwiedes sitting in the corner with friends. The tiny redhead serving them coffee? That's Stephanie Moore.
It's only been a few months since Moore, 27, got the job at Mickey D's, but she's fast becoming a customer favorite. According to the Krumwiedes – Don and Beverly – Moore is never without a smile and is always eager to help.
"I look for her now when I come in," Don said. "She's very, very friendly and she takes good care of me. All of us like to visit with her."
Beverly Krumwiede thought Moore, who is 4-foot, 4 inches, was a teenager at first.
It turns out the Sahuarita resident has craniosynostosis, a condition where one or more of the fibrous sutures in an infant's skull prematurely fuses by turning into bone, thereby changing the growth pattern of the skull. She has undergone several facial and cranial surgeries and has intellectual disabilities in addition to epilepsy.
She got the job at McDonald's with the help of WorkAbility, an employment program dedicated to preparing people with disabilities for the workforce.
Eric Golay, an employment services program manager with WorkAbility, said his company began providing services for Moore about a year ago.
"It was difficult to find a position for her but she remained persistent," he said.
They helped Moore fill out the McDonald's application, held training sessions with her, helped her through orientation and spent her first few shifts at the restaurant with her. Today, a job coach drops by every Thursday to check in with her, her bosses and co-workers to see how they can further assist her.
"Excellent. Amazing," Golay said of her performance thus far. "Everyone loves her and the customers ask about her when she's not here."
McDonald's general manager Gala Sicairos said whether Moore is helping customers with the kiosk, providing refills or delivering trays to tables, she "puts in maximum effort."
"She brings a good atmosphere," he said. "She's always pleasant to the customers and everyone else."
Although it's not typical for McDonald's customers to tip, Moore somehow always manages to leave her shift with a little extra, he said.
Patti Smith is one of the folks who drops by McDonald's every Thursday to visit with the Krumwiedes, Marge Crowley, Billy Biby and Sandi Royes.
She introduced Don Krumwiedes as Moore's "biggest fan" since he routinely tips her. However, she said they are all fond of her. They're also inspired by her, she said.
"She's the sweetest little thing," she said. "She tries to help everybody. She's just a joy."
Moore's mom, Vickie, said Moore decided she wanted to get a job because many of her friends with disabilities have been getting jobs lately and posting about them on Facebook. Being a social creature, she knew she wanted a job in customer service.
With WorkAbility's help, Moore landed the interview at McDonald's on Halloween and started in mid-November.
A family friend surprised her on her first day, Moore said.
"I was kind of nervous and excited because he was going to order something from me," Moore said. She helped him place an apple pie order at the kiosk.
The job has been a true blessing, Vickie Moore said.
"She meets a lot of new people and she's made friends with a group of ladies she's now calling her girlfriends," Vickie said.
Her daughter is also learning to better manage her time, dress professionally and be prompt.
"I just love to hear her say, 'I love my job,'" Vickie said. "She feels more confident. She feels like she's part of a community. She loves being needed."
Her daughter now has a purpose in life, she said.
Moore said she's saving up her earnings and tips for a trip to Great Wolf Lodge, an indoor water park in Scottsdale.
Crowley and Beverly Krumwiedes said they are pleased the restaurant has hired someone with disabilities.
"I think it's wonderful and it's too bad more businesses don't do that," Beverly said.
The next step for Moore is working the registers and her job coach is teaching her how to count change, Golay said.
Like many of their clients, "Stephanie has a desire to work and she's not letting her disability get in her way," he said.
In fact, if you ask Moore what her future goals are, she's quick with an answer.
"I want to be the manager," she said.