It was hard to find an unhappy employee at the Anchorage Federal Complex in downtown Thursday, as hundreds of furloughed workers were back on the job after 16 days of a partial government shutdown.
"A bit of relief actually, to get back to work and start digging out through the backlog of work," said Matthew Lacroix.
That sentiment has a lot of meaning at the cafeteria, where eight of its 10 workers were furloughed -- because three-fourths of the 900 workers at the federal building were also sent home during the shutdown.
Many of the cafeteria's contract workers are here thanks to a law enacted in 1934.
"There's what's called the Randolph Sheppard Act, which is designed for people that are legally blind and severely disabled. There is a special program in culinary, for people with disabilities, where we train and empower people with disabilities," said cafeteria manager Rick Ranaud.
Ranaud says it was tough to tell his staff to go home during the shutdown, especially because they didn't get paid.
"By and large people said that they got bored, that they would have rather been here working, that they got bored sitting at home," Ranaud said.
Bill Misner was among those who stayed at work. He stayed and ran his convenience store just down the hall from the cafeteria, where customers can buy everything from nail clippers to cold drinks.
Sales were icy during the shutdown, as only a couple hundred essential employees remained in the building.
"I was taking at least 60 to 70 percent less home," said Misner.
Channel 2 spoke with Misner right before the government shutdown, but he didn't seem to be fazed, having been through two others in the mid-1990s. He wasn't griping about the political impasse in Washington on Thursday, either.
"You can't do anything about it until the people working on the problem get it figured out," he said.
Like a lot of measures in Congress these days, the legislation passed to end the shutdown is not permanent, which could lead to more instability at the Anchorage Federal Building in the near future. But it may take more than some political bickering to ruffle Misner's feathers.
"No, I just take it a week at a time," Misner said.