When she got her first job at McDonald’s in 1979 as part of the crew in a restaurant on Denbigh Boulevard in Newport News, it wasn’t anything close to what Freda Thornton wanted to do.
“I wanted to be a nurse,” she said. “I lost my mom at a young age, and I wanted to help people that way.”
She was the young wife of a serviceman, and “I had just come to Newport News, and I needed a job. I figured I’d stick it out for eight weeks.
“You see what that eight weeks turned into.”
What it turned into is this: Thornton is president and CEO of FWL & Sons Inc., a family operation that owns and operates five Richmond-area McDonald’s restaurants with about 200 employees.