In all kinds of weather

Michelle Baldwin knows all about working in Oklahoma’s weather extremes. She has been a carhop at Sonic for 14 years.

Will Rogers got it right when he said of weather in the Sooner state, “If you don’t like the weather in Oklahoma, wait a minute and it’ll change.”

Case in point, the bitter cold on December 15 and 16 sandwiched between bouts of balmy temperatures.

Sometimes it seems Mother Nature is schizophrenic and off her meds.

But that’s Oklahoma.

Most people have jobs in climate-controlled environments.

And when you think of those whose jobs are outdoors, you likely picture construction workers, mail carriers, meter readers and the like.

But there’s one job that might not immediately come to mind and it is found in most communities, including Purcell.

That is the carhop. In Purcell, that means Sonic Drive-In.

Think about it. Shuffling food and beverages from the kitchen to customers waiting in vehicles.

They do it in the sweltering heat of July and August and the bitter polar vortexes that used to be called blue northers.

It’s a physically demanding job anyway you look at it.

Michelle Baldwin is a familiar face to many Sonic customers.

She’s been a carhop 14 years and counting and she knows how to cope with the weather.

“Layers is the key, really,” she said on a moderately chilly morning. “And pray that our heater works.”

Baldwin said she walks approximately four miles every shift she works.

“Sometimes you don’t want to go outside, but it’s what you’ve got to do,” she said.

As harsh as winter can be, summers are possibly even worse. No relief from layering clothes then.

With the mercury in the 90s and sometimes reaching triple digits, it’s bad enough.

“But standing by a running car, it just slaps you in the face,” she said. “There’s nothing you can do except drink plenty of water.”

When she started carhopping all those years ago, Baldwin didn’t expect to stay in the job.

“But I love it,” she said. “I’ll keep it up until they kick me out.”

When weather conditions are less than ideal, you might wonder why not look for work out of the elements.

Baldwin knows what keeps her at Sonic.

“Mostly the customers I deal with,” she said, smiling. “The happier I am, the happier it makes them.”

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