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97-year-old refuses to stop bagging groceries because he ‘loves a hard day’s work’
The veteran got his first job as a child, and he's enjoyed working ever since. He's truly an inspiration!
Irene Markianou
01.24.23

WWII Veteran Bartholomeo Ficeto had never stopped working or being active in some way since he was seven years old.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

At that age, he got his first job shining shoes.

Yes, life was hard for a working child, but he soon got used to it and he realized that having a purpose in life keeps you going.

When he got a little older, he went to a barber’s school, and then he enlisted in the Army.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

Ficeto served in the Army Air Force during World War II. And, when he returned home, he just kept doing what he had always done. He kept working.

A former warehouse supervisor for a cosmetics company, he officially retired back in the ’80s, but he never really stopped working.

He found a job at his local Stop&Shop in New Jersey, and he went on being a bag boy for several years.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

In 2019, when he was 97 years old, he gave an interview to Steve Hartman for CBS Evening News, where he explained that he never took a break at work.

His managers also confirmed this claim.

“No, I don’t want to waste my time. I’d rather keep working,” he’d tell the manager when they encouraged him to take it easy and have a break.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

As he told the reporter, he didn’t understand why he would need a break since he only got to work four hours.

As if they were doing him a favor to have him as a staff member at the store.

Everybody loved Benny the Bagger. Customers enjoyed listening to his stories while he was putting their stuff in the bags. He was truly a pleasure to have around.

Benny told CBS News:

“I get a feeling that I did something good. You can’t just stand around, like an idiot. You have to have a reason to keep alive.”

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

When the pandemic hit, like all of us, he had to stay home for a long time until it was safe to go out again.

In the meantime, he was getting older, and not going to work and not going about his routine every day made him lose his purpose.

YouTube - CBS Evening News
Source:
YouTube - CBS Evening News

When people eventually returned to their jobs, he was just too old to risk getting sick, so he had to stop working. But his former co-workers never forgot him.

They even paid tribute to him last year, when he celebrated his 100th birthday!

Benny arrived at Stop & Shop in Edison, New Jersey, where the staff had prepared a great surprise for him.

YouTube - NJ.com
Source:
YouTube - NJ.com

After cutting the ribbon on a dedicated veteran’s parking space, with his name on the sign at the store, he was wheeled inside, where more surprises followed.

His former colleagues sang happy birthday to him, while a vocal group called America’s Sweethearts sang WWII-era songs for the veteran.

It was a unique celebration and we are sure Benny wouldn’t have it any other way.

YouTube - NJ.com
Source:
YouTube - NJ.com

It is obvious that the man was loved by everyone in town, and everyone missed him after he truly retired.

Watch Ficeto talk about why he wouldn’t stop working in the heartwarming video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Source: YouTube – CBS Evening News, CBS News, NJ.com, YouTube – NJ.com

By Irene Markianou
[email protected]
Irene Markianou is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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