His given name is Blaine Johnson, but to his customers, "Mr. Holiday" works just fine.
For 20 years, Johnson, of Pine River, has worked at Holiday gas stations in the area, spending the last 17 as the night manager at Nisswa's station.
Those 20 years mark another important fact for Johnson. "As long as I've been at Holiday, I've been seizure-free," said Johnson, who was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 10.
Johnson said that Holiday has been good to him, but he also credits the seizure-free years to his positive attitude and feeling better about his life.
On Saturday at Nisswa's Holiday gas station, Blaine Johnson, known as "Mr. Holiday," chatted with regular customer Tom Carr. Johnson, an epileptic, has worked at Holiday stations for 20 years, all of which have been seizure-free. Brainerd Dispatch/ Kelly Humphrey» Purchase reprints of this photo.
When Johnson graduated with an associate of science degree in business management from Central Lakes College, the job market was tough. Johnson's brother worked at a Holiday station, so Johnson went to the station and asked, "Do you like my brother?" They responded with a "yes" and a job offer.
That job offer lasted for the next 20 years, spanning shifts at almost every area Holiday station.
Nickname: "Mr. Holiday."
Hobbies: "I like to fish and hunt. I fish a lot."
Interesting experiences: Johnson was a part of a 6-part TV series with WalleyeDan. Also, his experience of being bitten by a freshwater fish was broadcast on the History Channel's "Monster Quest."
Least favorite gas station duty: "Cleaning windows."
Highest gas price ever sold: "$3.99 once this year."
Funniest gas station story: "When we had a fishing and tackle section, a kid put on a straw hat, put a rod on his shoulder and walked up the aisle whistling the theme song from the 'Andy Griffith' show. We busted out laughing."
Biggest gas purchase: "During the day, they tell me on those huge boats it (costs) $1,500 for a half tank."
Favorite snack food in store: "I dabble a little bit. It depends on how I'm feeling. I've been drinking a lot of cranberry juice lately, though."
His reign as Mr. Holiday began when he would jokingly tell people to write "Mr." in front of "Holiday" on their checks. Now, he said that more people know him as Mr. Holiday than as Blaine.
Johnson's typical shifts are from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. "I don't treat it as a job, I treat it as my night life," he said.
In his years at the station, Johnson has taken no sick days, save the week spent recovering from a broken arm. "I look forward to coming to work," he said. "When you love what you're doing, the rest is easy."
"Over the years I have had customers tell me I was their hero," Johnson said. "This is a pretty awesome feeling, which makes you realize how important my place in life is." He also said that customers have taken photos with him and tell their friends to visit Mr. Holiday.
Johnson always makes an effort to greet people at the door and he said that the "lost art" of an upbeat greeting is often the last thing that people expect when they walk in.
"People have made a difference in my life like I've made a difference in theirs," he said. Even during the interview, when Johnson was off-duty, customers greeted him with familiarity.
"My grandma told me to keep God in your life, treat people like family, like friends, and you'll never want in life," he said.
Johnson performs many duties at the station, including changing the filters on every pump, a job he's honed to a two-hour time frame. "If you make it fun, the easier it is to do. It's how I approach everything I do," he said.
He also makes an effort to constantly "reinvent" himself behind the till. While his arm was in a cast, Johnson perfected the art of scanning merchandise left-handed, a habit he has continued because "it's easier."
Johnson is also known for counting change back in thousands instead of dollars. "It's part of the experience," he said.
For Mr. Holiday, his experiences at Holiday are a big part of his life. "It's something most people look for their whole life, and I found it right here in Nisswa," Johnson said.
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