It wasn't blood lines or a shared hobby that brought Bonnie Jones and Shawn Schmitz together. It was grease.
Schmitz, 35, was just learning to dress herself when Bonnie Jones, 71, began serving burgers and shakes at the Convention Grill in Edina 30 years ago. In 1987, Schmitz, a self-possessed 17-year-old, was hired as a maltmaker, then cook, host and server; at 18, she got keys to the place. She's now a manager.
Far from feeling professional jealousy, Jones remains awed by her young friend and boss.
"She started taking Spanish in 1995, before the influx of Spanish speakers into the Twin Cities and our restaurant," Jones says of Schmitz. "That was so smart."
Schmitz, the mother of three children ages 5, 2 and 6 months, appreciates Jones' work ethic, coming in six days a week to cover the busy lunch shift.
"She gets really good tips," Schmitz says. "She makes people laugh."
The two have golfed and bowled together. When Schmitz got married in May 2000, Jones was there.
"I can tell Bonnie anything in confidence," Schmitz says. "Anything."
Jones appreciates that Schmitz "doesn't try to boss me around. But if I'm sneaking out the back door for a cigarette, she lets me know that's not the best thing to do."
They're looking forward to golfing again this spring, "now that she's stopped having babies for a while," Jones says with a laugh.
"For good, Bonnie," Schmitz says. "For good."