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Monday, March 25, 2013
Q: Ever since I moved to north Roanoke County nine years ago, this has been a burning question of mine.
At the Hardee’s at Cove and Peters Creek roads, there is a gentleman who waves at every car with a bright smile on his face. He never appears in a Hardee’s uniform, but he stands on the corner waving to each passer-by. I see him on the way to my son’s school each morning and I now find myself looking for him. Sometimes I see him as early as 7 a.m.
I am curious as to who he is and what has inspired him to do this? Any resident of that part or the county/city knows exactly who I’m talking about. Cars often honk at his familiar greeting and I can tell that he brings joy to many passers-by.
A: Thanks for the question, Katie. “The waving guy,” as our kids called him when they were little, has been waving from that corner for 25 years — long enough to become a regular Roanoke institution. The newspaper has written about him before, in fact, though long before your arrival.
I knew we had done so without even having to search the archives because the reporter was Beth Macy, whom I’m lucky to be married to, and she wrote a story about him way back in 1995. His name is William Faison, and he has been working that corner since 1988. Asked in that story why he waves to passers-by, William said, “That’s my job — I wave to people, and most of them, if they’re not too busy, wave back.” His other job is unloading trucks two or three mornings a week at the Hardee’s, and he probably is setting some kind of record for longevity of employment at a fast-food franchise.
I stopped by to see if I could talk to William, but I missed him. However, customers Stafford Lewis and John Brewster come to Hardee’s pretty much every day and admire William’s work ethic and especially his love of waving to kids on their way to school. Stafford buys him two apple pies every day , and John buys him two cookies daily, too, so we shouldn’t worry that the waving guy will suffer from low blood sugar any time soon.
According to other people at the restaurant, they call him Willie, and say he never misses a day, even though he’s only on the clock a few days a week. In between waving sessions, he can be found in the restaurant, where he looks out for the staff in case of troublesome customers. Other than a touch of gray at the temples, they say he looks pretty much the same as he did when he started, so maybe he’s on to something.
I’d like to thank all of the readers who have sent in questions lately. The stack of them is getting pretty short, so if you have a question, please don’t hesitate to call or email. Without you, this column wouldn’t exist, so keep the queries coming!
Have a question? An answer? Call “What’s on Your Mind?” at 777-6476 or send an email to email@example.com. Don’t forget to provide your full name, its proper spelling and your hometown.
Look for Tom Landon’s column on Mondays. Read the WOYM blog on roanoke.com anytime.
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