“It’s just a little bit of kindness, a little bit of love that means the world to somebody.”

Andrea De La Rosa is the assistant manager at a McDonald’s restaurant in Lynn, Massachusetts. But to the teens who work here, she’s Mama McDonald’s. She asks them how school went, listens to their stories, and gives them advice. Most importantly, she’s always there to listen. Literally.

“It doesn’t matter what time of the day it is—at night, she will pick up,” said one employee under De La Rosa’s care. 

“Oh, she’ll pick up!” Confirmed a second girl with a smile.

Going Above and Beyond the Call of Duty

De La Rosa makes herself available to every kid that works for her, any hour of the day, any day of the week. For her, being the assistant manager is much more than a job:

“I get so excited when I walk in the door because I know what I’m coming to now. I’m coming to my family.” 

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De La Rosa manages people in their jobs, but she also helps her young employees manage their homework, their social lives, and their dreams. When a new employee starts, she takes the time to get to know all about them: where they’re coming from and where they are heading. If they themselves don’t know, De La Rosa is there to lend guidance and support.

“You never stop being a mother just because they aren’t your kids,” she explained.

Emanuel Needed Someone to Lift Him Up

And that’s exactly what she did for Emanuel Graham when he started working at the fast food restaurant in Lynn, Massachusetts. To say that Graham was struggling would be an understatement. The young man lost both his parents before his thirteenth birthday. Lost and afraid, Emanuel’s motivation disappeared and his grades plummeted. It didn’t look like he’d finish his junior year, let alone high school. The very idea of going to university seemed ridiculous.

Little did he know that a part-time, after-school job flipping burgers was about to turn his life around—or rather, his assistant manager was about to turn his life around.

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“She treats me as if I’m her child,” Emanuel said. “She always checks on me. She makes sure that I have everything that I need.” When he talks about De La Rosa, his face lights up in a huge smile. But just as suddenly, he gets serious: “To have a person of support to help me go through it, it kinda slowly healed what I was missing.”

And Emanuel is just one of many kids whose lives have been forever changed for the better by De La Rosa’s unconditional love and support—things that only a mother could give.

“I don’t have a relationship with my mother,” another teen employee told reporters. “Andrea gives me the mother figure that I never had.”

McDonald’s and Andrea Changed Emanuel’s Life

Eighteen-year-old Emanuel Graham is now studying at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. It’s thanks to the financial support of McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity tuition reimbursement program that Emanuel can afford to go to school. But it’s thanks to De La Rosa’s love and emotional support that he even imagined going to university in the first place. 

The young teen was set to fail high school. But now, he’s enrolled in the business school at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The owner of the Lynn McDonald’s, Lindsay Wallin, wanted to congratulate Emanuel on his acceptance to college. She presented him with a University of Massachusetts hooded sweatshirt and a $500 Amazon gift card.

But she didn’t forget the person who had played such a tremendous role in helping Emanuel achieve his dreams. Much to De La Rosa’s surprise, she was also presented with a check—a check that covered her family’s flights for their next vacation.

“It’s just a little bit of kindness, a little bit of love that means the world to somebody,” De La Rosa said humbly of the life-changing support that she lends to the teenagers that work here. It certainly does mean the world to those teenagers—and it’s also helping that world become a better place, one successful young adult at a time.


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