CHAMPAIGN -- When you think of carousels, you probably think carnival, cotton candy and horses. But people here think of Mary File. WCIA-3's Megan Brilley finds out about this one-of-a-kind woman.
"My husband passed away 16 years ago. We'd always had a mom & pop business. I was looking for a job."
So Mary File applied at Marketplace Mall, and the rest is history.
"I was the first one hired. I wanted something that I could enjoy, help people and make them happy."
Her first day was in 1999. For the past 13 years, she's helped kids on and off, "Want a ride honey?" with a bright smile which never seems to fade.
"I love the kids. I've watched so many children grow up."
Some still come to see her to this day. Her 81st birthday is coming up, but age isn't stopper her from coming here everyday.
"My family thinks it keeps me going. It probably does. I have a reason to get up and get out. It's a fun job and it makes a lot of people happy. You can just watch the faces. We had some children come in from out of town. They ran ahead of their parents and said, "look mommy, daddy, they have a carnival!"
People who come for a ride are never strangers. To Mary File, they're instantly family.
"A lot of them call me Mimi, which is what my grandchildren call me. I get a lot of hugs, fringe benefits. My prayers were answered."
The carousel has Family Fun Fridays on the first Friday of every month with free rides, face painting and balloon animals.
Original: 5:04 pm
CHAMPAIGN -- For the past 13-years, one woman has built a reputation for creating thousands of smiles. Mary File has been working at Marketplace Mall since this carousel was built in 1999.
Saturday is her 81st birthday. She helps kids on and off, and starts and stops the carousel. For the past 13-years, she says she's watched children grow up.
Some still come back and visit her to this day. You can meet Mary yourself at Family Fun Friday. There will be free rides, face painting and more at the carousel.