In 1971 Dotty Flicek was 21 and that's when she began serving the commuters of Glen Ellyn.
Forty-one years have rolled by and Flicek is still the face of the coffee shop in Glen Ellyn's Metra Train Depot. For some people, Flicek is the first person to greet them in the morning but that's about to change.
Flicek is giving up her shop, The Working Bean, to help her husband recover from a stroke, and the two plan to move to rural Indiana.
"It's going to be hard to let go, it really is, Flicek said." "I'm not looking forward to leaving."
Every day Flicek rises before the sun and starts her day at 3 a.m. It's the same routine she's had since the Vietnam War. Flicek boasts that she can even wake without the help of an alarm clock. But Flicek will have to start a new routine. She recently sold the coffee shop to a Geneva resident, who will continue to brew, but Flicek could be out as soon as Friday, Jan. 27.
"It's just been so much fun knowing all the different people. If it wasn't for the people, I wouldn't be here," said Flicek. "They're like family to me after so many years."
After almost half a century, Flicek has become the unofficial face of Glen Ellyn. Flicek says when she walks down the streets of Glen Ellyn to shop, or to dine, she can't walk too far without someone greeting her, which still surprises her husband.
One Glen Ellyn commuter says it's nice to start off the day seeing a friendly face. "She's always got a nice smile on and wishes you a good day," said Mike McGrath.
After waking up to greet the commuters of Glen Ellyn ever day for so many years, Flicek has seen a generation of children grow up and come back to start their own commute. The shop itself was a family affair, too. Over the years, her patrons got to know her grandchildren when they came to visit each summer and helped her in The Working Bean.
Even though she'll soon be packing up for the Hoosier state, Flicek says she won't be able to retire completely. She'll continue to create her well-known ceramics, and even jokes about running another train station coffee shop in Indiana.