‘I will always work for this guy.’ Employees work for Del City restaurant owner for decades, here’s why

Pay It 4ward

DEL CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – How would you like to work for a boss who treats you like family, gives you the days off that you request and sometimes even helps you pay bills when you can’t afford to? That boss is a restaurant owner in Del City, and he’s hiring!

“Throughout my ten years, I’ve seen him give and give to the community. He will feed anybody who don’t have any money,” Christina Hetherington said. “Some school kids came in and a couple of them were eating and a couple were not, so he went in and made a plate for them because they didn’t have the money to pay for it. That’s just something you see every day with him,” she said.

Madison’s Country Cooking in Del City, OK.

Christina has waited tables at Madison’s Country Cooking in Del City for a full decade. “I will always work for this guy,” she said. And, on this day, she cooked up a big surprise for her boss.

“He makes you feel like family; it’s like his home,” Christina said. “His employees – he’s paid their rent, he’s paid car payments for them and he don’t ever talk about him struggling. We also do a Thanksgiving dinner every single year; this is going to be our first Thanksgiving that we don’t have a Thanksgiving dinner, and he provides that meal free to everyone. We feed over 1,000 people on Thanksgiving Day.”

That’s because of surging food prices and a lack of labor. Signs on the front door read “Help Wanted” and “Short-Staffed.” Because of that, her boss has had to close early most evenings.

“Help Wanted” signs greet customers at Madison’s Country Cooking in Del City.

“Seven days, sometimes he’s here twelve hours a day,” Christina said. Owner Hamid Mehrabian and his wife Diane give employees the time off they request, then fill in the gaps and cover all shifts.

“He cooks, he does the dishes, he’ll wait tables, he’ll come out and if we’re behind, he’ll clean our tables for us, he cleans the bathrooms, he does it all. I mean, he’s such a hard worker.”

And that’s why Christina surprised Hamid as he was working away in the kitchen, with a $400 Pay It 4Ward award from First Fidelity Bank.

“I have $400 on behalf of First Fidelity Bank,” she said as she handed over the money. “You always go way above and beyond and sometimes it might not seem noticeable, but you are noticed. You’re an amazing guy.”

But then it was Hamid who surprised Christina, with this: “Well, I do appreciate it. Let me do this – I’m going to give this back to Christina. I love my employees. Without them, none of this would be here, I wouldn’t be here. And I do thank you so much, thank you so much,” Hamid said as he hugged a stunned Christina. “I’m shocked, I didn’t expect it to go that way!” she said.

Christina Hetherington surprises her boss, Hamid Mehrabian, with $400 Pay It 4ward award.
He then surprises her by giving the money back.

Character like Hamid’s is the reason that Al and Leon, just like Christina, have also worked for Hamid for a full decade.

“Good guy, he’s a good guy,” Leon said.

But Ken wins the title of longest employee. “30 years!” Ken said.

Hamid said, “I tell him every day he’s the man, don’t I tell you that ‘You’re the man?'”

Ken replied “And I say, ‘No, you’re the man.'”

Left to right: Hamid, Leon (10-year employee,) and Ken (30-year employee.)

Hamid not only brags about his employees, but also his fresh food. He gave News 4 a tour of his kitchen, where everything is made to order from scratch.

“We just cut fresh pork loin. These are our fresh hamburger patties, it’s not frozen, that we make here every day. It’s fresh eggs, not the powdered eggs,” Hamid said.

His first job was a dish washer in the restaurant industry, and he eventually climbed his way to the top, becoming a restaurant owner.

Inside Madison’s Country Cooking in Del City, OK.

“I was born in Iran, but I’ve been here since I was 15-years-old. I was raised in this culture, mostly in Oklahoma,” he said.

Hamid follows the ‘Oklahoma Standard’ by handing out thousands of free meals over the years to those unable to pay.

“Nobody should let anybody go hungry. Money does not mean nothing when it comes to human treatment,” Hamid said. “I thank God for what we have, what we have here, and it’s just amazing, amazing, amazing.”

Hamid and Diane actually own two restaurants – Madison’s Country Cooking in Del City and Alexandria Mediterranean Cuisine” in Oklahoma City. Both locations are hiring.

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Pay it 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.

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