in 2018, “06880” honored Millie Hardy with an “Unsung Hero”award.
She’d worked for Minute Men Cleaners for 47 years. She’d been its backbone “forever.”
She was a reluctant hero. But her customers agreed: There was no better choice.
Millie died suddenly yesterday, at work.
Warren Shapiro — one of the many customers who loved her, and was shocked and saddened by the news — says:
She was a gem of a person and really an inspiration to me. I worked on Long Island for 2 years. I got up early for my drive to work. I would pass by the cleaners at like 6:45 a.m., cranky and talking to myself about how miserable this early morning commute was.
I would see Millie opening up the store, sweeping the front stoop, just as happy and dutiful as can be.
There was no complaining or negativity in that woman. Just goodness.
She was an unsung hero for sure.
Here is that “Unsung Hero” story, from 2018.
Mildred Hardy did not want to be featured on “06880.”
But several customers walking into Minute Men Cleaners saw us talking, and gave encouragement. “You deserve it!” one said.
She sure does.
Millie — as she is universally and lovingly known — has been with the Riverside Avenue company for 47 years. She has been its backbone forever.
This was not her first Westport job. The Jamaica native was working for a family on South Compo Road. But she saw an ad for a presser. She was hired — and started work the same day.
That was March 3, 1971. Her boss is now the son of the former owner. She enjoys working for him — and interacting with customers. “They’re great,” Millie says. “They’re all my friends.”
She’s done dry cleaning, and run the machines. Now she works at the counter, where countless customers appreciate her warm smile and kind words.
Millie lives next door. In a part of town known for commuting — and at a business with many commuter customers — she’s got the shortest commute of all.
And one of biggest fan bases of anyone, anywhere.
Thanks, Millie, for 47 years of loyal, devoted service to Minute Men Cleaners, and Westport. You’re a true Unsung Hero!
(Hat tip: Patricia McMahon)