16:04 PM

Tenacious Team Keeps Meals Coming for Stranded Travelers


When recent snowstorms forced the closure of mountain passes in Montana, drivers hunkered down in parking lots as they waited for roads to clear. “The whole parking lot was slammed full,” says TA Café Restaurant Manager Nicole Stefko at TA Laurel, MT. 

Nicole was new to the site – less than two months. She was still learning the ropes when she and her team were challenged to accommodate the surge of hungry drivers, in addition to their regular guests. “I’ve never been involved with a group of people who have been so extraordinary,” she says. The team pulled together to serve everyone from sunup to sundown. 

Nicole credits Cook Chris Cox, for keeping the meals coming. His 40 years of experience paid off big time during the crunch. Cook Brady Lewis was a huge help as well. Nicole is especially grateful to AGM Chris Crouse, who she says has helped her from day one. "He's been so welcoming and kind while training me," she says. And when the cooks needed a reprieve - Chris seamlessly stepped into the role. “He’s phenomenal. He really rocked it,” she says. 

Nicole, like her team, was also doing double duty. When team members couldn’t get to work, she stepped up to serve. Lead Server Malinda Buffington and Server Heather Raymond worked extra-long hours to ensure guests were well cared for. “They kept this restaurant afloat,” says Nicole. 

Nicole has affectionately named her team - Team Tenacious, for demonstrating all five TA values (Welcoming, Openness, Integrity, Empathetic, Team Player) during a particularly tough time, and getting every single traveler back on the road better than they came. We couldn't agree more.