Much has changed over the years in the Salt Lake Valley, but one thing remains the same.

Twin sisters Ellen and Elaine Hamilton are still greeting customers at the 3300 S. Main Street McDonald's — a job they've enjoyed together for 40 years.

The ladies started working at the burger joint at age 20; since then, they've become fixtures in the community.

Elaine Hamilton remembers going to work at another location while their restaurant was under construction about six years ago. "That other place is not my home. But this one is my home," she said Friday. "I know the people here. I know the manager. I know the people."

The friendly 60-year-old said customers often tell her and her sister that they "do a great job" cleaning the restaurant.

Ellen Hamilton also said she likes her job because she has "met a lot of people" as she delivers food to the tables inside the restaurant.

"I clean everything," she added.

Ellen and Elaine Hamilton, McDonald’s crew members show some of their work areas at the 3300 S. Main Street location in Salt Lake City, where the two have worked for 40 years and were recognized on Friday.
Ellen and Elaine Hamilton, McDonald’s crew members show some of their work areas at the 3300 S. Main Street location in Salt Lake City, where the two have worked for 40 years and were recognized on Friday. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Ellen Hamilton said she likes working with her sister, who is her best friend. They do everything together.

One McDonald's customer was so impressed with the sisters, she reached out to the president of the international fast food company to pay recognition to them, "because she cared so much about them," said Darin Angeli, who represents Watson Management, which owns and operates the Salt Lake location.

Angeli recognized the twins Friday for their time at the company during a ceremony at the restaurant with their coworkers, friends and family members.

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"It just means a lot to us, when we can keep employees that long," she said. "Not only do they make our customers happy, but they make us happy, too. They've been around for so long, we can trust and rely on them. They show up every day, and so it means everything. It means the world to us."

Angeli said the sisters help take care of the lobby, cook fries, take out trash and deliver orders to the customers. "They're basically our presence out here, and that's why so many customers like them."

Family members say the job has helped keep the Hamilton sisters young. But the exuding happiness comes naturally — they love talking to people, serving and spreading joy.

Ellen and Elaine Hamilton, who have worked at McDonald's for 40 years, pose for photos with Ron Nielsen, a general manager, and his wife, Tawna Nielsen, an area supervisor, after the sisters were recognized for their service in Salt Lake City on Friday.
Ellen and Elaine Hamilton, who have worked at McDonald's for 40 years, pose for photos with Ron Nielsen, a general manager, and his wife, Tawna Nielsen, an area supervisor, after the sisters were recognized for their service in Salt Lake City on Friday. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

"They're hard workers. They take care of all of us," said a brother, Greg Hamilton.

"It's really amazing that they have done so well, especially since my parents have both passed away. They still live in the same house that we all grew up in," he said. "I'm just so thrilled that McDonald's has been so willing to work with them."

A sister-in-law said Ellen and Elaine Hamilton have no plans of retiring, as "60 is just a number" to the sisters. The job is one of the things that helps keep them young, Lynda Hamilton said, pointing to how difficult the COVID-19 pandemic was for them, as they couldn't visit people like they're used to.

The sister duo also loves sharing stories about their long-time participation in the Special Olympics. Most recently, they both received gold medals for bocce ball. They have also bowled, snowshoed, cross-country skied, ran in track and field, ice skated and swam.

"They're such a great example of the Special Olympics and the love and joy of the Special Olympics," said Yolanda Kunder, sports development director for the organization. "We just love these girls very much."

During their time in the Special Olympics, the Hamilton sisters said they have loved meeting famous athletes like figure skater Dorothy Hamill, a former Miss America winner, and a professional baseball player, among public figures.

Lynda Hamilton said she can't go anywhere with the twins without running into people who know and love them.

"I mean, we'll even be in Disneyland, and we'll run into people that go, 'I know you,'" Lynda Hamilton said.

While the McRib sandwich, Halloween Happy Meal pails and other limited-time menu items might come and go, these smiley workers won't be putting away their trademark uniforms any time soon.