Darden for Life | Patricia Anderson of Olive Garden

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Darden for Life | Patricia Anderson of Olive Garden

Host Patricia Anderson, a 34-year Darden team member in Tucson, AZ, says Olive Garden has been accommodating, allowing her to keep working despite health challenges.
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After 34 years with @Darden this host says @OliveGarden is her family. http://bit.ly/29hQf9r
Tuesday, August 23, 2016 - 9:10am

Q. How long have you been with Darden? What job positions have you held besides your current one?

A. I’ve been with Darden 34 years in August. I’m a host now, at the Broadway Blvd. Olive Garden in Tucson, AZ, but I started as a server and also worked as a certified trainer. I began my career with Red Lobster, where I opened 100 restaurants, and in 1990, I moved to the Olive Garden in Tucson when it opened. 

About 11 years ago, I had to give up my server role and become a host because I have multiple sclerosis and post-polio syndrome and walk with a limp. My managers were awesome and accommodating about my health challenges. 

Q. What do you like best about your job, and why?

A. I enjoy being around people, and I have a lot of regular guests and older guests who are happy to see me. I think I represent stability to them because I’ve been here so long. 

'None of my family members live nearby, so Olive Garden is my family.'

Q. What are you most proud of?

A. I’m proud that I can make people smile and welcome them to a wonderful place to eat. I’m also proud that I can still work even though I’ve been sick for so long. I love my job, and I know that if I quit, my illnesses would take over. 

Q. What would people be surprised to learn about you?

A. I’m very shy. I’m an introvert except when I’m at the restaurant. 

Q. Would you recommend Olive Garden as a good employer to your friends and family? How about to the stranger you strike up a conversation with in the line at the post office?

A. Yes, because they take good care of their team members and provide excellent training. If you don’t excel at one job, they will find you another position. They won’t just give up on you. I’m proud of my company’s dedication to doing the right thing. I love Darden. 

That group photo of team members in Darden’s Restaurant Support Center forming hearts with their hands after the Orlando shootings in June made me cry. I was proud of Darden despite my sadness. I attended a vigil here in Tucson, and we’re sending a lot of prayers to Orlando.

Keywords: Diversity & Human Resources | Business & Trade | Corporate Social Responsibility | Diversity | Diversity & Human Resources | Jobs | Multiple Sclerosis | Olive Garden | Women In Business | darden | post-polio