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Sunday, October 4, 2009

"Meet Millie" Millie Saylor, Recognizing a Lifetime of Service

By Sid Riley
"What can I get for you?"
If you have lived very long in the Marianna area, the probabilities are very high that Millie Saylor has said that to you at least on one occasion, and more probably she has said it to you numerous times.
Millie McMillan was raised in Sneads and attended Sneads High School. She is the daughter of Pete and Ruby McMillan. Millie has one daughter, two grand children, and three great grand children.
Millie began working as a waitress in Marianna at the tender age of 16, in 1958. Since then she states she has worked in every major restaurant in town, except for Tony’s and The Caravan.
That first job when she was just a teenager was at Padgetts Café. She then went to work for Joe Pittman at his restaurant in the old Marianna Greyhound Bus Station. He initially was hesitant to hire her because she looked "too young".
Next, Millie moved to Hightower’s Drug Store, and then The Plantation House where she worked for several years for Dallas and Margaret Malloy, as their hostess. Then she began working as hostess at the Holiday Inn on Highway 90 West. She was lured away from that job when Ruby Gelzer, who was manager of the newly opened Jim’s Steak House, offered her a position as assistant manager. She worked for Jim Harkins at the Steak House from 1974 until 1982.
That changed when one day an out of town customer began flirting with her one Saturday morning, while she was at work in the restaurant. After a proper courtship, that man, Gene Saylor, finally made a proposal Millie could not refuse, and they were soon married and on their way to a life in Texas. Millie lived in Texas for eight years.
Millie and her daughter Pam returned to Marianna in 1990, and she went to work in the Sunland Food Service Department. From that she moved to the newly opened Sports Bar and Grill, and then to the Waffle Iron as manager, working for Foster Jennings. Then Alan Harkins who had just taken over management of Jim’s Steak House from his father, Jim Harkins, called and asked Millie to come and work for him. Millie was still working there when the restaurant was sold to Tarek Gad and Maria Andromidas, who changed the name to Jim’s Buffet and Grill.
Today, Millie is very happy working for Maria, a relationship still strong after five years of involvement.
Looking back over a varied and long life in the food service industry in Marianna, Millie is proud of the relationships she has developed with many business leaders in the area. "There are not many people in town who do not know Millie", states her former employer, Jim Harkins. "Millie is dependable, honest, and is one of those rare people who always seems to be in a happy mood. She has always been an outstanding employee."
Her current employer, Maria Andromidas, states that Millie is a key ingredient of their existing team. "Millie always does her very, very best to please her customers. She is devoted to the success of the restaurant, and making the experience of dining as pleasant as possible for the customer".
Millie says she has always enjoyed her work, and would not have wanted to do anything else. Her biggest tip ever was a $100 bill, which gave her a thrill when she received it.
So today, Millie is still going strong. If you stop in at Jim’s Buffet and Grill the chances are good Millie will greet you while you are there. If so, you will be privileged to having been served by one of the best and most experienced waitresses in Marianna.
P.S. In case you didn’t know, "Meet Millie" was a Radio and TV series from the early 1950’s.

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