HANOVER, Pa. — Nadine Baum's birthday gift from the local McDonald's may have been more valuable, say, 50 years ago, but the present of free food for life still hits the spot.
The 100-year-old beamed last week as she sat at her regular booth by the window amid balloons, flowers, a card and a birthday cake. She laughed and thanked the dozen or so friends who had gathered there at lunchtime Oct. 13.
"I just can't get over this," Baum said. "This is so wonderful."
She blew out her candles and waited for her meal — a Big Mac for her and one for her son — before she had a piece of cake. Employees joked that she was much better behaved than others who have birthday parties at McDonald's.
"Now we can see you every day!" said crew member Ginny Slaubaugh, who organized the surprise.
For five or six years, Baum said she ate lunch daily with her son at McDonald's.
Recently, her arthritis has limited her visits, said her son, Mike Baum. But they try to make it in as much as possible.
"She gets around very well," Slaubaugh said, even though she uses a walker for support. Slaubaugh calls the centenarian "Mom" and says her mind is still sharp.
Nadine Baum sipped on a whipped cream-topped mocha frappe as General Manager Sean Patterson joked that the coffee drink was what kept her young.
"I don't know what I did to deserve all this," Nadine Baum said, taking in her celebration. "I count my blessings every day."
Follow Geena L. Goozdich on Twitter: @geenagoozdich