For 18 years, Dolores Bisagni has made the coffee and brought in the customers at a 7-Eleven in Shirley, a store that sells 2,500 cups of joe every day, among the most for any store nationwide.
It's a tough daily grind, serving commuters hot coffee and other specialty drinks. Monday, as Oprah Winfrey crowned her the "coffee queen," on her show, Bisagni showed the nation and 7-Eleven's top boss just what a challenge it can be and was rewarded for her hard work in the end.
Chief executive Joe DePinto took a moonlighting gig working with Bisagni at the Shirley store as part of the new CBS-TV reality series "Undercover Boss."
The show gives top corporate bosses the chance to work undercover on the front lines of the companies they run. With the cameras rolling, DePinto struggled to keep up with the morning's customers. Bisagni, not in on the real identity of her new co-worker, wasn't in a forgiving mood.
"Oh, for crying out loud," Bisagni said on the show, referring to DePinto. "Take care of the customers."
The Bronx Bombers fan was rewarded on the show for her work with two Yankee season tickets, courtesy of 7-Eleven. The company will also give $150,000 to the organ donor group Donate Life America in honor of Bisagni, DePinto said on "Oprah.''
"That's why we're selling 2,500 cups of coffee," he said. "Not because we have great coffee, but because we have Dolores there."
The 7-Eleven episode is due to air Feb. 21 on WCBS / 2.
Winfrey did a segment Monday on the episode and DePinto and Bisagni appeared together, Bisagni via satellite.
Bisagni, a Shirley resident who says she's older than 50, still works three days a week starting at 5 a.m. even after losing a kidney. She has dialysis two days a week.
Bisagni offers tough love to customers, too. "A lot of them want the freshest pot [of coffee] coming out," she said in an interview Tuesday. "And they all know I won't allow it."
She also bakes cakes and other treats for regulars, and checks in on them if they haven't stopped by in a while. One customer, Vinny Ruiz, said he got a get-well card in the hospital after he was hurt at work.
"She's got a really great attitude," Ruiz said. "She's a special lady. And she always keeps me updated with the Yankees."