Kansas barista keeps brewing at 80 years old


Some people try to kick their coffee habit. But for one Manhattan resident, she can’t seem to quit brewing coffee. 

The majority of baristas at this Manhattan Starbucks are between 20 and 25 years old. But Shirley M. Wilson is 80 years old. 

“I talk too much,” said Wilson. 

She’s been working with Starbucks since they first started brewing at Kansas State University in the late 80s. 

“I still stayed on as storekeeper for almost 21 years I retired in 2003,” said Wilson.  

She retired for just 11 days. 

“I fell in love with it,” said Wilson. 

The lifetime Manhattanite adores her city and adores talking to people. You might be wondering what Shirley’s secret is to working so hard at age 80. It’s not coffee.

“I got to see young people, and I think that keeps you young,” said Wilson. “A few in my family have Alzheimer’s. I think the more you read, the more you socialize, I don’t think you’re as apt to get it.” 

As customers roll in, she says hi. She’s quite popular. 

“Eleven years, we’ve been with Shirley,” said Amy Shimkus. “We would start coming in at 5:30, and it’s all our hours of the day, she knows our whole family, she knows everybody’s drinks.”

She said a previous coworker told her she could never move to a place like New York because of her happy energy. 

“How in the world would you get along?” said Wilson. “I can’t imagine walking down the street and not smiling and not saying hi.” 

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