Within a year of immigrating to the United States from El Salvador, Luis Castro began working at the Tustin, CA, Souplantation in a journey that would carry him and his family forward for nearly 30 years.
Luis, 66, started as a dishwasher on September 9, 1986, and was promoted to a cook along the way. He has also become a handyman, performing a variety of duties to keep the restaurant operating.
“My life has been Souplantation,” Luis says. “I have looked forward to going to work all these years, but now I am ready to take a long vacation.” Luis prefers to simply call retirement a long vacation.
Not only did Luis work for the company, but his wife, Blanca, also worked for Garden Fresh a number of years. Together, they raised two children, Luis Jr., and Carmina, both of whom attended the University of California-Irvine, and now have successful careers near their parents in Orange County.
Luis is fondly remembered by those with whom he has worked. Elle Piper, a former supervisor, says, “His heart is the biggest. Luis is so proud of his long tenure with the company; in fact, he still carries around his first pay stub that he received from Souplantation.”
Barbara Crosby, Director of Operations for the Tustin restaurant, says, “Luis is a can do man. If you have something to take care of, Luis will figure it out and stay with the job until he gets it done.”
Luis begins his “long vacation” on March 1, a vacation that his colleagues hope will be long and happy.