She brings more than good food to the table. She brings a smile and a demeanor that makes customers feel appreciated. Her positive attitude elevates those at her workplace. She enjoys her work and has no problem letting others know it.
She's Bonnie Bechtold, the most familiar waitress who has ever worked at Minot's Roll' N Pin restaurant and maybe the most recognizable server in town.
"Bonnie is an irreplaceable waitress," said Milt Miller, co-owner of the Roll' N Pin. "She brings a lot of customers to our business. She's unbelievable, a head waitress and manager too. Nothing stops her."
"I am crazy and kind of a workaholic," laughed Bechtold. "I have actually broken both of my ankles at different times and worked the whole time I broke them. The last time I did have to take a little bit of time off because I completely shattered the ankle and had to have some screws put in it but I'm a die-hard and like going to work. It's like home here."
Sometimes in the restaurant business an unanticipated rush can leave a manager scrambling to serve a surge of customers. At those times, Miller said, he knows he can count on Bechtold to come to his assistance, keeping customers happy and the Roll' N Pin operating smoothly.
"I can't say enough good things about her. We love having her here," said Miller. "No matter when you call her for help, she's there. It doesn't matter what time of day,"
"You know why I like helping them out?" queried Bechtold. "It's because they do a lot of great things for me. I have super employers. They are good to me and when you like something, you do good things for other people."
Miller added that he fully appreciates Bechtold's work ethic, knowing that she is always eager to help out when there is extra work to be done. She's been waiting tables and greeting customers and uplifting fellow employees for 29 years, something even Bechtold has a hard time believing.
"I started here my first year of college, in 1981, and I was just going to use this as a temporary job. I liked it so much that I stayed here," said Bechtold with an assuring wink in her eye. "I like working with people. I love it and my bosses have all been wonderful. All of them."
Bechtold worked for longtime owner Mike Neubauer, always greeting customers with a smile on her way to becoming the most recognizable waitress in a very busy restaurant. Neubauer retired this past year and turned over the reins to co-owners Milt Miller and Tom Walter, two men who've been working at the Roll' N Pin for nearly as many years as Bechtold.
"They are awesome to work for. We've worked together since we were young kids," said Bechtold. "I was here a couple of years before they were. It's like family here. It's really cool. When I come to work I know we are all really good friends. We work hard and we all care about each other."
Miller cites Bechtold's attitude as being a big plus for the restaurant. It is contagious to the point where co-workers follow her example.
"She greets everybody with a smile. She loves what she's doing and makes sure it shows," said Miller. "You've got to be a people person to do what she does and a waitress is responsible for a lot of things. They are out front with the customers."
The Roll' N Pin has plenty of regulars who come not only for the food but because Bonnie Bechtold is there to wait on them. Many share personal stories with her and treat her like an extended member of their family. Good company makes good food even better.
"I know all the old customers that I still wait on," said Bechtold with a hint of pride in her voice. "I waited on them when their babies were little and now those babies have kids of their own. I've waited on a lot of people who I've seen their whole family grow up. I like life. I like people. I like finding out stories from people. It's fun. I have a fun job."
When asked how many "lunch specials" she has placed in front of customers, Bechtold guessed "maybe a million." She has witnessed many changes during her years of service at the Roll' N Pin. One of the biggest, she said, is working with today's youth who are often tackling their first job just like Bechtold did 29 years ago.
"I have a teenager myself now and I like working with the young people," said Bechtold. "I still like learning and I learn a lot from the younger people."
An owner of two cats, Bechtold keeps fellow employees chuckling with her trademark "meow" during her work shifts. It's her friendly greeting that reminds everyone to keep a smile on their face and enjoy their work.
"I get teased a lot about that, but it's fun," laughed Bechtold. "This job is fun and it'll keep you in shape. How many people can come to work and get a total workout every day? I like the fast moving and not sitting. I like my job a lot, I really do."
Her employer and the customers she serves like her work as well or, as Bechtold says when setting down a hot breakfast or lunch special "enjoy" something she has been doing every day at work for 29 years.