SHE has seen thousands of drivers pass through on their way to destinations all over the country – including a few well-known faces along the way.
Now Evelyn Bent’s 25 years’ work at a motorway service station has been recognised.
Evelyn, who lives in Southampton, started out as a general assistant but has risen to the role of supervisor at Roadchef in the Rownhams motorway service area on the M27.
Being at a busy service station, Evelyn has seen a fair few celebrities pass through including television presenters Esther Rantzen and Angela Rippon and footballer turned film star Vinnie Jones.
A memorable incident for Evelyn was when, 10 years ago, the crew of Eastenders descended to film in the Roadchef itself with characters including Steve McFadden, who plays Phil Mitchell.
Evelyn, of Kennedy Road, Maybush, started her employment with Roadchef in 1987 after she was told about it through a friend. She had been a cleaner at the Royal South Hants Hospital in Southampton for 14 years but was fed up of doing late shifts.
The mother-of-three started off being responsible for day-to-day duties on site such as wiping down tables, serving customers food and drink and washing up.
She was promoted to supervisor, where she looks after customers and ensures the business runs smoothly during busy trading hours.
The 60-year-old worked for 22 years on the north side of the M27 heading towards London, but was moved two years ago to the south side for commuters heading towards Bournemouth.
She said she had learnt not to judge on first appearances as she had found people who looked likely to be difficult had turned out to be some of the politest customers.
“I enjoy looking after the customers,” she added.
“Over the years I have got my regulars who come back and see me. If you have a bad day today you don’t have one the next day – every day is different, you meet different people.”
She received £400, flowers, champagne and a card as a thank-you for her dedication to the company.
Mark Densley, site director at Rownhams Roadchef, said: “She’s a pleasure to work with and always manages to bring a smile to customers’ faces, working extremely hard to ensure her job’s done to the best of her ability.”