PEORIA - Elvis not only lives, but he's hungry for some Big Macs.
Managers and representatives of McDonald's restaurants in the Bloomington/Normal area were shocked when the king himself showed up at the Greater Peoria Regional Airport at 7:30 a.m. Sunday to give them a proper farewell before their flight to the annual McDonald's convention departed for Las Vegas.
Tom Orrick, director of operations, supervisor Vicki Berg and eight managers from the different McDonald's in the area were serenaded with the classics "That's All Right (Mama)," and "Viva Las Vegas," by an Elvis Presley impersonator before boarding the plane.
Bob Dobski, co-owner with Julie Dobski of several McDonald's in Bloomington, Normal and McLean area, said the serenade was a way to make the trip a little bit more memorable for employees.
"They couldn't believe it," Dobski said. "They just had a good time and he was there hugging them and doing gyrations. It was to get them into the mood to go to [Las Vegas].
"They work their butts off, so this was just an opportunity for them to relax, kick back and enjoy themselves," Dobski said.
Dobski was not attending this year's convention and his wife, Julie, will be arriving in Las Vegas at a later date.
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Elvis was actually played by WEEK-TV's own Sports Director Lee Hall, who met Dobski during a McDonald's -sponsored trip to Cuba. Hall said that the Elvis impersonations started as a gag for the St. Jude's Memphis to Peoria Run, which is a charity event where participants drive to Memphis and then run back relay style to Peoria. Since then, Hall said that Elvis has grown on him.
"There are 43 presidents but only one king, so you do the math," Hall said.
Dobski said that Hall did receive McDonald's coupons as payment.