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South Nashville Waffle House employee retiring after 43 years at same restaurant

By Brendan Tierney

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    NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WSMV) — A South Nashville Waffle House employee is hanging up her apron for good this weekend after working the same shift at the same restaurant for 43 years.

Judy Anderson has been greeting customers who walk through her doors over the past three generations. Filling stomachs and warming hearts as fast as the food comes out of the kitchen.

She’s served up more than a million cups of coffee over the years along Sidco Drive and said it’s her regulars that’s kept her working this long. She knows someone’s order before they even sit down.

“I enjoy my job,” Anderson said. “I like making people happy and I like serving people. I have been working in the waitress profession since I was 16 years old.”

The menu has grown a lot since she started at the restaurant in 1980 and so has the price of a waffle. It was just 94 cents on her first day taking orders.

Lora Alexander has been calling out those orders to the kitchen for the past 30 years. She said Anderson is like a sister to her.

“It’s going to be a sad time because to work with her for as long as I have and for her to be with me for a lot of times, hard times in my life,” Alexander said. “She has always been there for me. She has always been there for all of us.”

Alexander was there along with our WSMV4 cameras in 2004 when Anderson promised not to retire at her 24th anniversary party. But she said it’s time for Anderson to start traveling and spend more time with her daughter, who essentially grew up in the restaurant.

Customers like Janice Sensing have constantly been giving Anderson advice on how to spend retirement over the past couple of months since the countdown was started. Sensing comes in for breakfast a couple times per week and said they always wait for one of Anderson’s tables.

“Frequently, she has our menus down and our drinks poured, and she just points to a table. It’s kind of like coming home,” Sensing said. “She’s a unicorn. They just don’t stay 43 years, and she works so hard. She doesn’t care if it’s her customers or someone else’s customer, she wants everybody to be happy.”

Anderson said she will not miss driving all the way from White House to work at 3 a.m. every day, but she will miss the customers she serves and the co-workers that have become family over the years.

Her last day is Saturday, but she’s still going to come in on Christmas to sing special Waffle House-themed carols she’s written with her friends that she will never truly leave behind entering retirement.

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