After nearly 26 years, Dorothy Bale’s run at Arby’s has come to an end.
The 95-year-old Millcreek woman told The Salt Lake Tribune on Monday that health issues have forced her to give up her job at the Arby’s restaurant at the corner of 2300 East and 3900 South.
Bale said her legs have been giving her problems, which has made working her four-hour lunchtime shifts difficult. She is using a cane to get around, and is going to physical therapy. She aims to stay active from home, she said.
The celebration of Bale’s 25th anniversary at Arby’s — she applied for a job there in 1994, when she was 69 — made national news in January after The Tribune profiled her. Bale said her daughter, Denise, saved clippings from some 300 newspapers that ran her story.
Bale was even mentioned by comedian Jimmy Fallon in a “Tonight Show” monologue. “I read about a 94-year-old woman in Utah who is Arby’s oldest employee,” Fallon said on Jan. 8. “When asked what it was like to work with her, the manager said, ‘Oh, thank God, you can see her, too.'”
Bale was a fixture at the Arby’s on the border between Millcreek and Holladay, working three days a week, taking orders at the cash register and wiping tables. Many regulars would check to see if her white Ford Taurus was in the corner of the restaurant’s parking lot, a sign that she was on duty.
Bale’s late husband, Dennis, ran a dental practice in Sugar House for 35 years, and Dorothy worked there for 23 years, until they retired together in 1988. Sixteen months after retirement, Dennis died of a heart attack, at the age of 66.
“I would not like staying home at all,” Bale said in January. She applied for the job at the Arby’s a mile from her house. She said the job “has kept me busy, and I’ve met a lot of wonderful people.”