— -- One 94-year-old woman is celebrating 44 years behind the counter at McDonald's.
"When I started, I didn't start to stay," Loraine Maurer told ABC News, adding that she started working at McDonald's in 1973 after her husband retired on disability. "I told him we were too young to stay at home and so I went for a job."
Maurer was feted by her co-workers at an Evansville, Indiana, restaurant, including owners Chip and Katie Kenworthy.
"Loraine has quite a following. That's to say the least, really," Katie Kenworthy, who has owned the restaurant for almost two years, told ABC News. "She has lots of very loyal costumers who come especially to our restaurant to see her."
So Kenworthy decided to plan a party to celebrate Maurer, inviting her church -- Good Shepherd Catholic Church Parish -- along with her family and friends.
"It was wonderful," Maurer said of her party. "The only thing is there were so many people there that I couldn't talk to them all."
Maurer, who has four children, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, said the relationships she has with her customers are particularly important, since they helped her get through a very tough period in her life -- the loss of her husband, Kenneth, in 1980.
"They were my live savers when I lost my husband," she recalled. "The customers helped."
Every winter, Maurer contemplates retiring, but she says she just can't give up her shift, which now consists of two days per week.
"I would miss it too much," she said. "I don't want to get depressed and it's not that I don't look forward to going to work. ... It's not a job.
"I really and truly enjoy it," Maurer added. "Life is what you make it. And so I'm trying."