‘I’ve Been in Their Shoes’: Korean War Vet Paid 90 Employees for Three Months During Closure

Tony Philou, a Korean War veteran and the owner of a McDonald’s franchise in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, needed to close his fast-food restaurant for renovations, which meant putting his 90 employees out of work for three months — a hard-hitting reality in an already downturned economy.

Knowing the financial burden such a closure would cause, the nonagenarian stepped up in an incredible way. Philou, who immigrated to the U.S. from Greece as a child, selflessly paid all his employees throughout the months-long closure.

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The U.S. Army veteran told Fox Business doing so “was not a hard decision.”

“I’ve been in their shoes,” he said. “I knew what it would be if they didn’t have a check on a weekly basis.”

Philou said he told his staff, “You’re going to sit home; you’re going to get paid. I’m hoping that you come back with me when I open up the store to run a beautiful store in this lovely community of Mayfield Heights.”

The profound act of kindness left employees “floored” and “extremely appreciative,” McDonald’s franchise general manager Ed Kocsis told The Washington Post.

Having owned the Mayfield Heights store since 1977, Philou knew it was outdated and in need of renovations. He told Fox Business the franchise location needed repairs “both facility- and equipment-wise” to make it “a better place for the employees to be working.”

Philou’s incredible financial sacrifice is an outpouring of his own success and blessing.

“Our employees are extremely grateful,” he said. “As for the community here, which I’m blessed to be working with, they’ve been very supportive of us. I’m blessed to be able to do this. And I did it because what [my employees] have done in the past have made the store a success.”

In total, Philou has owned seven McDonald’s franchises and has helped four of his own employees become franchise owners themselves.

Philou works hard to take good care of his employees — as he has shown. He said he encourages his staffers to stick with him because, “As I grow, they will grow.”

While the kind-hearted veteran did not reveal how much money he doled out to his employees, he joked, they will “need to sell a lot of cheeseburgers to make it up.” The franchise location reopened July 6.

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