Trader Vic's icon retires after 57 years

EMERYVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- Claudette Lum is an icon at Trader Vic's. She has been with the company for 57 years and has finally decided to retire.

Her final shift will be New Year's Eve.

"I'm 80 years old and I've been working all my life," she said. "Now I want to enjoy my family and all my friends. "

Claudette says this wasn't just a job. "It was like a journey. " Her co-workers and customers were like family.

"The most heartwarming part of my position here is, I know some children who have come here in their little baby beds and now they're taller than I am," she said.

Claudette was first hired at the Trader Vic's in San Francisco in 1960 as a hat check girl and continued up the ranks to lead hostess. She later moved to the location in Emeryville.

General Manager Jonathan Roman first met Claudette when he was 17. He says her best quality is, "Her charisma. She is very passionate for sure. She meets you for the first time and she makes you feel very warm and very welcome."

Customers agree. "She says she remembers everybody," said one diner. "And she makes you feel special."

People are scooping up her business cards to keep as souvenirs. Some old customers have made special trips to town to say goodbye.

Claudette will never forget all those guests who turned into friends. She wants people to know she loved going to work every day for 57 years.

"You've made my career here so wonderful," she said. "And much Aloha and keep that Aloha spirit going for me."
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