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"She always checks on me": McDonald's assistant manager shows kindness to teen employees

Mama McDonalds helps teen get into college
Mama McDonalds helps teen get into college 02:39

McDonald's restaurants serve billions of hamburgers every year, but there's one restaurant where the workers are the ones being served — and saved — by a very special woman.

Emanuel Graham, 18, told CBS News both of his parents died before his 14th birthday. It caused him to struggle in school.

"I didn't think I would make it to college — or senior year," he said.

Graham credits his remarkable turnaround at least in part to a mentor — McDonald's assistant manager Andrea De La Rosa, who has offered countless kids in Lynn, Massachusetts, a heaping helping of love and guidance.

"You never stop being a mother just because they're not your kids," she said.

Graham used to work for De La Rosa and even gave her the nickname "Mama McDonald's."

De La Rosa said managing young people on their first jobs is about so much more than barking orders. It's about listening, helping with homework, college applications and really anything for the kids who work in the fast food restaurant.

"She treats me as if I'm her child. She always checks on me. She makes sure that I have everything that I need," Graham said.

Employees said De La Rosa would pick up the phone no matter what time of day and gives some the mother figure they never had.

"It's just a little bit of kindness, a little bit of love that means the world to somebody," she added.

"To have a person of support, to help me go through it, it kinda slowly healed what I was missing," Graham said.

Graham is now a business student at University of Massachusetts Lowell.

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